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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Israel kills top Iranian general

IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi was among the dead in a Damascus airstrike

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been killed in an Israeli airstrike on Damascus, Syria.

The Monday attack destroyed a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing at least six people, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Iranian media identified the building as the Iranian consulate and the ambassador’s residence. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency identified Zahedi, a senior commander in the IRGC’s Quds Force, as being among the dead. His deputy was reportedly killed as well.

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According to a Reuters correspondent in Damascus, the consulate was “flattened,” in what was described as “a startling apparent escalation of conflict in the Middle East that would pit Israel against Iran and its allies.”

Israel has not commented on the strike. West Jerusalem rarely acknowledges its airstrikes against Syria, which Damascus has repeatedly denounced as violations of its sovereignty.

The attack on the consulate is “a breach of all international conventions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a call to his Syrian counterpart, according to Iranian media. He added that Tehran will hold Israel responsible. Iran’s ambassador to Syria said the response will be “harsh,” according to Reuters.

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The Quds Force is the IRGC’s military intelligence and unconventional operations arm. Zahedi was reportedly in charge of its operations in Syria and Lebanon. Its most famous commander, General Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in January 2020 by a US drone, while visiting Baghdad, Iraq.

Another Quds Force commander, General Razi Mousavi, was killed in Damascus last December, also by an Israeli airstrike that was not officially acknowledged.