Israeli strike in Syria killed senior Iranian adviser

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By Kareem Chehayeb and Albert Aji | Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria — An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran’s embassy in Syria, killing a senior Iranian military adviser and roughly a handful of other people, Syrian state media said Monday.

The strike on the Iranian consulate building could mark an escalation of the Israeli military’s ongoing targeting of Iranian military officials and allies in Syria, which have intensified since the onset of its war with Hamas in Gaza on Oct.7.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges such strikes, said it had no comment about the Syrian media reports.

The Iranian Arabic-language state television Al-Alam and pan-Arab television station Al-Mayadeen, which has reporters in Syria, said the strike killed Iranian military adviser Gen. Ali Reza Zahdi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016.

Iranian Ambassador Hossein Akbari condemned Israel and said as many as seven people were killed, but first responders were still searching for any other bodies under the rubble. He said two police officers who guard the building were wounded.

Akbari vowed revenge for the strike “at the same magnitude and harshness.”

In comments to the media after meeting Akbari, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said “several” people were killed. Mekdad in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, condemned Israel over the attack.

Iranian state television said the Iranian ambassador’s residence was in the consular building, which stood next to the embassy.

State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military source, said the building in the tightly guarded neighborhood of Mazzeh was leveled.

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