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Senior Iranian commander killed in strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria – Iran state media | World News

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A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been killed in an airstrike on the country’s consulate in Syria, according to Iranian state TV.

Mohammad Reza Zahedi was reportedly killed in the explosion, which destroyed the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024. An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding everyone inside, Syrian state media said Monday. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)
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Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria. Pic: AP

Tehran’s ambassador to Damascus, Hossein Akbari, who was not injured, claimed between five and seven people had been killed in the strike.

Syrian foreign minister Faisal Mekdad also told media after meeting Iran’s ambassador that “several” people were killed, without offering further information.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad walks with Iran's ambassador in Damascus Hossein Akbari, near a damaged site after what the Iranian media said was an Israeli strike on a building close to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria April 1, 2024. REUTERS/Firas Makdesi
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Syrian foreign minister Faisal Mekdad walks with Iran’s ambassador in Damascus Hossein Akbari following the strike. Pic: Reuters

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A Lebanese security source who spoke to Reuters and Iran’s Tasnim news agency claimed the explosion was an Israeli airstrike.

Israel declined to comment on the incident, while The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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The death of Mr Zahedi and the destruction of the Iranian embassy is likely to further inflame tensions in the Middle East.

Tehran’s ambassador to Damascus promised the Iranian response to the strike would be “harsh”.

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, also called the strike “a breach of all international conventions”.

A spokesperson for the ministry told Iranian state TV that Tehran would decide on the type of “response and punishment against the aggressor”.

Who is Mohammad Reza Zahedi?

A top commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGS), Mr Zahedi was a leading figure in its elite Quds Force – a unit specialising in military intelligence and unconventional warfare.

Having previously served as a commander in both the Revolutionary Guard’s air and ground forces, he served as the head of the Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon until 2017.

He is the most senior leader of the IRGS to be killed since the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Iraq in January 2020.

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