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Iran’s Commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi Killed In Israeli Airstrike in Syria

STRIKE ON THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE

DEADLY STRIKE LEVELS BUILDING IN IRAN EMBASSY COMPOUND, KILLING Mohammad Reza Zahedi, IRGC Quds Force’s SYRIA-LEBANON CHIEF; deputy also reported killed; TEHRAN FM SAYS ISRAEL RESPONSIBLE

The Israeli Air Force allegedly carried out an airstrike on a building next to Iran’s embassy in Damascus on Monday, reportedly killing at least six people including the top Iranian commander in Syria.

The strike in the Damascus-area municipality of Mezzeh hit a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy, footage showed.

A Reuters report said a building in the embassy compund was “flattened,” in what it said was “a startling apparent escalation of conflict in the Middle East that would pit Israel against Iran and its allies.” Iran’s SSN news website said the targeted building was Iran’s consulate and ambassador’s residence.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency cited sources who indicated that at least six people were killed in the strike.

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Among them was senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps official Mohammad Reza Zahedi, according to security sources speaking to Reuters and media reports in Iran.

Zahedi was a top commander in IRGC’s Quds Force, a US-designated terrorist organization.

He was reportedly responsible for the unit’s operations in Syria and Lebanon, for Iranian militias there, and for ties with Hezbollah, and thus the most senior commander of Iranian forces in the two countries. Israel’s Army Radio said Zahedi oversaw all Iranian terrorist operations against Israel from Syria, Lebanon “and the Palestinian sphere.”

His death was the most significant killing of an IRGC leader since the US assassinated Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in January, 2020.

Tasnim reported that Zahedi’s deputy was also killed in the strike.

Reuters quoted Iran’s ambassador in Syria warning that Iran’s response to the strike would be harsh.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, meanwhile, said in a call with his Syrian counterpart that Tehran holds Israel responsible for the consequences of the attack, Iran’s state media reported.

Footage from the scene showed that the targeted building had been destroyed in the strike. Next to the rubble, an Iranian flag was seen flying over the Iranian embassy.

Syria’s state-run SANA broadcaster claimed air defense systems had engaged the alleged Israeli attack, downing some of the missiles.

While Israel does not, as a rule, comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed terror groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade. The Israeli military says it attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

Faced with ongoing attacks by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group and Shiite militias throughout the Middle East in the wake of Hamas’s brutal October 7 massacre, which sparked the ongoing war in Gaza, Israel has escalated its strikes on Iran-linked terror targets in Syria, killing numerous IRGC operatives, as well as members of Hezbollah and other Iranian proxy groups.

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Monday’s strike came hours after a drone launched by an Iran-backed militia in Iraq struck an Israeli Navy base in Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat, causing damage to a hangar.

Meanwhile, shortly after the Damascus strike, the Israeli military announced that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi approved new operational plans at the Northern Command headquarters in Safed earlier in the day.

The plans “for the continuation of the fighting” were approved during an assessment held by Halevi, the commander of the Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, and members of the General Staff, the IDF added.