3 Top Iranian Commanders Are Reported Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria

3 Top Iranian Commanders Are Reported Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria

At least three senior commanders and 4 officers overseeing Iran’s covert operations within the Middle East have been killed on Monday when Israeli warplanes struck a constructing in Damascus that’s a part of the Iranian Embassy complicated, based on Iranian and Syrian officers.

The strike in Damascus, the Syrian capital, gave the impression to be among the many deadliest assaults in a yearslong shadow struggle between Israel and Iran that has included the assassinations of Iranian navy leaders and nuclear scientists.

That covert struggle has moved into the open as tensions between the nations have intensified over Israel’s navy marketing campaign within the Gaza Strip in opposition to Hamas, the Iranian-backed militia that led the Oct. 7 assault on Israel.

Four Israeli officers, talking on the situation of anonymity to debate delicate intelligence issues, confirmed that Israel had been behind the strike in Damascus, however denied that the constructing had diplomatic standing.

But the Syrian ambassador to Iran, Shafiq Dayoub, mentioned the strike had focused a diplomatic constructing and was a “clear and full violation of all worldwide conventions and norms.”

Video circulating on social media after the strike confirmed a destroyed constructing subsequent to the embassy, and photographs confirmed an entrance gate with an indication figuring out it because the consular part. The embassy said on X that the constructing housed a consular part and the ambassador’s residence.

Footage broadcast by Iranian and Syrian information companies confirmed a ruined constructing, burned vehicles, shattered glass and particles on the bottom.

The dead included Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi, 65, who oversaw Iran’s covert navy operations in Syria and Lebanon, two different generals and 4 officers within the Quds Force, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps mentioned in a press release.

Ali Vaez, the Iran director for the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit that seeks to forestall wars, mentioned that concentrating on a diplomatic facility can be “akin to concentrating on Iran by itself soil.”

Israeli officers mentioned the constructing was an outpost of the Revolutionary Guards, making it a reputable navy goal.

Iran’s international minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, strongly condemned the strike and mentioned he had spoken to his Syrian counterpart concerning the “Zionist regime’s assault on the consulate part of the Islamic Republic’s embassy in Damascus.”

“Netanyahu has misplaced his psychological steadiness as a result of he has confronted back-to-back defeat in Gaza and has not achieved the Zionists’ formidable targets,” Mr. Amir Abdollahian mentioned in a press release, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

The strike got here as Israeli troopers withdrew from Gaza’s largest hospital complicated, Al-Shifa, leaving it badly battered after a two-week raid during which the Israeli navy mentioned it had killed about 200 Palestinian militants and arrested a whole bunch of others after prolonged firefights.

Dr. Taysir al-Tanna, a longtime vascular surgeon on the Gaza City hospital, mentioned that most of the major buildings — together with the emergency, obstetrics and surgical wards — had been badly broken within the combating and the principle gate smashed.

“Now it appears like a wasteland,” Dr. al-Tanna mentioned.

Osama al-Ashi, a Gazan who went to the realm to verify on his residence after listening to that the Israeli navy had withdrawn, mentioned that he was instantly struck by the stench of decomposing our bodies and that he had seen mountains of rubble and burned buildings.

“The entire time we have been strolling,” he mentioned, “we have been stepping on physique elements.”

Mr. al-Ashi mentioned that most of the dead appeared to have been shot. Others, he mentioned, appeared to have been unearthed when Israeli forces bulldozed non permanent cemeteries on hospital grounds. Many buildings across the hospital had been destroyed by bombs, missiles and tank shells, he mentioned.

“The scenes there have been troublesome to tolerate as a human being,” he mentioned. “You really feel like you might be in a horror film.”

The Israeli navy mentioned that the Palestinians killed had been militants and that those that have been arrested had been suspected militants, together with some believed to be senior commanders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It mentioned two Israeli troopers had been killed and eight others wounded within the raid.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli navy spokesman, blamed militants for the destruction on the hospital, saying they’d fortified themselves in hospital wards, fired on troopers and refused calls to give up.

“We needed to hearth on the buildings to be able to cease that and to kill the terrorists,” he mentioned.

Israeli forces evacuated displaced civilians sheltering on the compound, in addition to some sufferers, and positioned different sufferers in a constructing away from the combating, Admiral Hagari mentioned.

The World Health Organization mentioned on Sunday that no less than 21 sufferers had died for the reason that Israeli raid started in mid-March, although the causes of demise have been unclear. By this weekend, 107 sufferers remained — 30 of them bedridden — with out consuming water and with solely minimal medicine, the Gazan Health Ministry mentioned in a press release.

Israeli forces first raided Al-Shifa in November, sustaining that Hamas militants had constructed a command middle in tunnels beneath it. Hamas and the hospital director mentioned the power was solely used as a refuge for civilians.

The Israeli navy later publicized some proof to assist its case, together with by displaying reporters a fortified tunnel constructed beneath the hospital grounds. An investigation by The New York Times discovered that the proof instructed that Hamas had used the positioning for canopy and saved weapons there.

After little greater than per week, Israeli troops withdrew in compliance with a short cease-fire. But after the combating resumed, Israeli forces closed in on the hospital once more in March in an try and root out what they mentioned was a renewed insurgency by armed teams in northern Gaza.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have began to rebuild themselves within the north,” mentioned Admiral Hagari. “And they re-based themselves inside Shifa.”

Hamas known as the destruction on the hospital “a horrific crime” and mentioned Israel had perpetrated it “with full and limitless assist from the administration of U.S. President Biden.”

In a go to to Al-Shifa on Saturday, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli navy chief of workers, declared the raid “extraordinarily profitable” and mentioned it had confirmed militant teams that “a hospital isn’t a protected place” for them.

Israeli officers and a member of the Revolutionary Guards, which oversee the Quds Force, mentioned the Damascus strike on Monday had focused a gathering during which Iranian intelligence officers and Palestinian militants have been to debate the struggle in Gaza. Among them have been leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a gaggle armed and funded by Iran.

Syria’s protection ministry mentioned the Israeli strike occurred about 5 p.m. native time, when fighter jets entered Syria from the Golan Heights.

The assault got here days after airstrikes killed troopers close to the northern Syrian metropolis of Aleppo, Syria’s state information media and an impartial group reported, in what gave the impression to be one of many heaviest Israeli assaults within the nation in years.

Those strikes on Friday killed 36 Syrian troopers, seven Hezbollah fighters and a Syrian from a pro-Iranian militia, based on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that tracks Syria’s civil struggle.

Israel’s navy didn’t remark after these strikes, however its protection minister, Yoav Gallant, mentioned, “We will pursue Hezbollah each place it operates, and we are going to broaden the strain and the tempo of the assaults.” He promised extra operations in Lebanon, Syria and “different extra distant areas.”

Reporting was contributed by Abu Bakr Bashir, Hwaida Saad, Arijeta Lajka, Riley Mellen, Cassandra Vinograd and Eric Schmitt.



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