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Middle East crisis live: Iran says it holds Israel responsible for consequences of Damascus consulate attack


Iran holds Israel responsible for consequences of Damascus attack – report

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said he holds Israel responsible for the consequences of the attack on its consulate in Damascus, Reuters said that Iran’s state media reported.

The strike on the Iranian consulate is “a breach of all international conventions”, he told his Syrian counterpart in a phone call, it was reported.

Key events

Iran will ‘reciprocate when we want’ to Damascus consulate attack, says ambassador

Hossein Akbari, the Iranian ambassador in Syria, has said Tehran “will reciprocate when we want” to what he described as the “extreme brutality” of the attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Posting to social media, Akbari wrote:

With extreme brutality, contrary to all international conventions, they targeted my place of residence and the consular section of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran; We will reciprocate when we want.

با نهایت وحشی‌گری بر خلاف تمامی کنوانسیون های بین المللی محل اقامت اینجانب و بخش کنسولی سفارت را به همراه #وابستگان_نظامی رسمی جمهوری اسلامی ایران هدف قرار دادند؛
ما در وقتی که می‌خواهیم مقابله به مثل خواهیم کرد.

— Hossein Akbari-حسین اکبری🇮🇷 (@Ambassador_HA) April 1, 2024

Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Tehran reserves the right to take reciprocal actions against the Israel attack.

Iran will decide on “the type of response and punishment against the aggressor”, Kanaani said.

Senior US and Israeli officials have completed a virtual meeting to discuss the Biden administration’s alternative proposals to an Israeli military invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a US official has said.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House’s press secretary, said at a briefing before the meeting that the US has made its concerns known about any major ground operation in Rafah, the last relatively safe haven for more than a million displaced Palestinian civilians. She told reporters:

If they are going to move forward with a military operation, we have to have this conversation. We have to understand how they’re going to move forward.

The officials are also going to discuss “alternative ways of going after Hamas”, she said.

The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, would lead the discussions on the US side, she added.

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The attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus comes just days after Israel carried out its deadliest strikes in months on Syria’s Aleppo province, killing more than 40 people, including members of Hezbollah and a large number of Syrian soldiers.

As many as 42 people were killed on Friday in what contradictory reports described as air and drone strikes that hit missile depots for Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group in Aleppo’s southern suburb of Jibreen, near Aleppo’s international airport, and a nearby town that houses a military facility.

According to reports, at least 36 Syrian soldiers and six Hezbollah fighters were killed in the strikes, and dozens more people injured.

There was no immediate statement from Israeli officials. Israel frequently launches strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria but rarely acknowledges them.

An Israeli airstrike lights up the night sky in Aleppo, Syria, in the early hours of Friday morning. Photograph: X.com
Hezbollah fighters carry the coffin of late Hezbollah commander Ahmad Jawad Shahimi (Abu Hussein), one of six fighters that were killed by an Israeli strike in the Syrian province of Aleppo, during a funeral procession in southern Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA
Supporters and relatives of late Hezbollah commander Ahmad Jawad Shahimi (Abu Hussein), carry his coffin during a funeral procession in southern Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA

Iran holds Israel responsible for consequences of Damascus attack – report

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said he holds Israel responsible for the consequences of the attack on its consulate in Damascus, Reuters said that Iran’s state media reported.

The strike on the Iranian consulate is “a breach of all international conventions”, he told his Syrian counterpart in a phone call, it was reported.

Iran says senior Revolutionary Guards commander killed in strike

Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was killed in the Israeli airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Iranian state television has said that the attack on the consulate was an assassination attempt targeting Zahedi.

Zahedi was the commander of the IRGC “Quds Force” in Syria and Lebanon, and was the key Iranian military official in charge of relations with Hezbollah in Lebanon and the pro-Iranian militias in Syria.

Zahedi is the most senior IRGC officer killed since the assassination of Qassem Suleimani by a US airstrike in January 2020, Axios reported.

An Israel strike in Damascus killed Mohammad Reza Zahedi, Hossein Amir Allah, and Hajj Rahimi. With this attack, Iran took its biggest losses in Syria in a long time. pic.twitter.com/iAjvnsM1qb

— Levent Kemal (@leventkemaI) April 1, 2024

Emergency services have been working at the scene of the site in the Mezzeh district of Damascus, where several people have been killed after Israeli warplanes destroyed the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital.

Reporters at the scene saw smoke rising from the rubble of a building that had been flattened, and emergency vehicles parked outside.

Emergency and security personnel gather at the site of strikes which hit a building next to the Iranian embassy in Syria’s capital Damascus. Photograph: Maher Al Mounes/AFP/Getty Images
Smoke rises after what the Iranian media said was an Israeli strike on a building close to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria. Photograph: Firas Makdesi/Reuters
Emergency personnel extinguish a fire at the site of strikes which hit a building next to the Iranian embassy in Syria’s capital Damascus. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images
Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria. Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/AP

Netanyahu vows to shut down Al Jazeera

Lorenzo Tondo

Lorenzo Tondo

The Israeli parliament approved a law that grants senior ministers powers to shut down foreign news networks deemed a security risk, after its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has pledged swift action to halt Al Jazeera’s activities in the nation.

“Al Jazeera will no longer be broadcast from Israel,” Netanyahu wrote in a post on X after the law was approved in its final readings on Monday.

I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity.

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Biden ‘aware of reports of Israeli strike on Iranian consulate’

The US president, Joe Biden, is aware of reports of Israeli airstrikes in Damascus striking an Iranian consulate on Monday and the “team is looking into it”, the White House’s spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, said.

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Syria’s foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, and Iran’s ambassador in Syria, Hossein Akbari, visited the site of the strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus.

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

Akbari has condemned Israel and said as many as seven people were killed in the strike, but first responders were still searching for bodies under the rubble.

Two police officers who guard the building were wounded, Akbari added.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad walks 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. Photograph: Firas Makdesi/Reuters
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. Photograph: Firas Makdesi/Reuters
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Israeli airstrike hits Iran’s consulate in Damascus

Israeli warplanes have destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing several people including a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Among those killed was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iranian state media reported. Iranian state television said several Iranian diplomats had been killed.

The Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers were both seen at the scene.

Israel, which has repeatedly hit Iranian targets during the war in Gaza, declined to comment on the incident. An Israeli military spokesperson said:

We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.

We’ll bring you more updates as they come.





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