What we know so far — RT World News

Iran has vowed to take revenge on Israel for the killing of Reza Zahedi in a diplomatic compound in Syria

A senior Iranian general was among those killed in an apparent targeted assassination carried out by Israel on Syrian soil on Monday. The air strike, which struck Tehran's consulate in Damascus, raises the possibility of a major regional escalation.

The diplomatic compound was hit by a missile allegedly fired by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed the killing of seven of its officers, including General Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

The statement stated that the list of victims of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard also included Zahedi's deputy, General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, two military commanders, and senior military advisors in Syria. Two Syrian police officers guarding the consular section of the embassy were also killed, according to Ambassador Hussein Akbari.

Israel did not claim responsibility for the attack, in line with its usual policy of neither confirming nor denying operations on foreign territory.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi pledged that the attack would not go unanswered. He described it in a statement on Tuesday as: “Cowardly crime” And terrorist acts as well “A clear violation of international rules.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Al-Kanaani urged the United Nations and the international community to condemn the raid on the protected building. Iran reserves the right to do so “Punish the aggressor” He warned that he saw fit.

General Zahedi was a senior commander in the Quds Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unit responsible for covert operations. He was reportedly responsible for the band's activities in Lebanon and Syria.

It can be said that his killing was the most important blow to the Quds Force since the killing of its then commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a targeted American assassination in January 2020 in Baghdad.

The importance of the killing was highlighted by pro-Israel accounts on social media, which reacted to the news by publishing a group photo that included the two military commanders along with three other prominent officials. Two of them, former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Ahmed Kazemi and Hezbollah co-founder Imad Mughniyeh, were assassinated. The only survivor is Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the hardline political party based in Lebanon.

Several countries quickly expressed their condemnation, including Saudi Arabia, a country that has lukewarm relations with Iran. Riyadh said it refuses to target diplomatic facilities “For any justification and under any pretext.”

Moscow's reaction indicated the same reason for condemning the attack on the consulate. It warned that Israel risks a major regional escalation with its undeclared operations on foreign lands. Russia urged other countries to clarify their position regarding the incident and the extent of its legality or illegality.

The United States, Israel's main ally, did not immediately comment on the incident. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Washington was “Look into it”.

However, news outlet Axios claimed that Israel informed the US just minutes before the raid, but did not say it was about to hit a consulate. The agency, quoting a senior American official, said that Washington had informed Tehran that it was not involved in the bombing.

After the killing of Soleimani, several American military bases in Iraq were bombed by Iranian ballistic missiles. US military personnel were reportedly warned hours in advance. According to the Pentagon, no one was killed, but 34 soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Farhad Ibragimov, a Russian expert on international affairs, believes that the spiral of mutual revenge between Iran and Israel could lead to catastrophic damage to the entire region.

The two sides held some non-public contacts to prevent escalation. Now that is out of the question, and unfortunately, no one in the world can stop them.” He views the Israeli strike as a sign of weakness, not a show of strength.

Israel is increasingly alienating other countries with the way it conducts its military operation in Gaza. The Jewish state claims it seeks to eliminate Hamas, a Palestinian armed force that it considers an Iranian proxy. Israel's critics say the high death toll in Gaza and the Israeli government's policies indicate an intention to ethnically cleanse the Strip.

It is assumed that Washington continues to arm its ally “to defend herself”But it has changed its tune since last October – when Hamas's deadly incursion into southern Israel sparked the current war.

Some US officials believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is escalating diplomatic tensions and manufacturing a crisis for domestic gain, Axios reported last week.

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