Iran vows retaliation against Israel after the death of its commanders and fears of war increase | Trending Viral hub

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on Monday airstrike on the syrian capital is reverberating throughout the Middle East, raising fears that the War between Israel and Hamas. could erupt into a broader conflict.

On Tuesday, Iran vowed retaliation for the alleged Israeli attack on its embassy compound in Damascus that killed two of the country’s top commanders. The attack also killed five military advisors in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard CorpsIran’s immensely powerful military and political organization.

Among the dead was Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the Quds Force, the IRGC’s elite foreign spy group, the IRGC said. Zahedi was a key figure in coordinating the so-called Axis of Resistance: the anti-Israel and anti-Western network of Iran-backed groups operating with militants across the Arab world. He is the highest-ranking Iranian official killed since Gen. Qassem Soleimani It was the target of a US airstrike in 2020.

Iranian General Mohammad Reza Zahedi
Iranian Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi.FARS/AFP News – Getty Images

While much international attention has focused on another Israeli attack that killed seven aid workers in GazaThe bombing of Damascus risks pushing archenemies Iran and Israel into direct confrontation, according to Sanam Vakil, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House, a London-based think tank.

Like many experts, Vakil believes that neither Israel nor Iran want an all-out conflict.

Israel is probably judging that the best way to avoid this, he said, is to launch targeted attacks against Iranian proxies to “create deterrence on all its borders.”

“This is a clear escalation and could provoke something” broader, he said, but Israel trusts that Iran and its proxies will continue to react cautiously to its aggressions.

Israel has not commented on the attack, but has previously acknowledged attacking Iranian forces in Syria, where they are deployed to support President Bashar al-Assad in an ongoing conflict against a patchwork of rebel groups.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant appeared to indirectly reference the attack on Damascus while speaking before a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

“We are currently in a multi-front war; we see evidence of this every day, even in recent days,” Gallant said, according to a statement from his office. “We operate everywhere, every day, to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and to make clear to anyone who threatens us – throughout the Middle East – that the price of such action will be high.”

Iran’s reaction has so far been purely rhetorical.

“This cowardly crime will not go unanswered,” President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement, according to the country’s state media. Israel “must know that it will never achieve its goals,” he added.

Iran “reserves the right to take countermeasures against the attack and will make a decision on how to punish the aggressor,” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Hussein Akbari, the Iranian ambassador whose residence in Damascus was destroyed in the attack, warned in X: “We will reciprocate whenever we want.”

The United States, Israel’s largest military financier and supplier, did not know about the attack in Syria and was not involved in any way, two US officials told NBC News. Two other U.S. officials said the administration was briefed on the operation while Israeli planes were in the air, but did not know what the target was.

Iran warned its archenemy Israel on April 2 that it will punish an airstrike that killed seven Revolutionary Guards, two of them generals, at its consular annex in Damascus.
Rescuers search through the rubble of a building attached to the Iranian embassy a day after an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on Tuesday.Louai Beshara / AFP – Getty Images

However, international attention has focused on the war in Gaza, where Israel is fighting to uproot the Hamas militant group. But Israel is arguably more concerned about Hezbollah, Lebanon’s militant group and political party. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran and are part of the “Axis of Resistance,” along with the Houthis in Yemen and powerful militias in Iraq.

Michael Stephens, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a Philadelphia-based think tank, said the attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria is a warning.

“My view is that yes, it is an escalation, but also a message from the Israelis that this can get worse very quickly on a much broader front if war breaks out on the northern border,” he said. Each side is trying to send messages to each other “while trying to keep the pot from boiling over,” she added.

Iran said the attack hit the consular section of the embassy complex, which normally provides support to citizens living in that country. However, Israeli officials have disputed this account, saying in interviews that their intelligence suggests the complex was not actually a civilian building but a military headquarters disguised as the Quds Force.

The IRGC said two commanders had been killed in the attack, Zahedi and General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, as well as five other members.

Zahedi is “an important figure within the IRGC who has risen through the ranks over many generations and is close to key leaders,” Vakil said. “He has been responsible for coordinating Hezbollah, Palestinian groups, Syrian groups and Iraqi groups, and this coordination capacity has elevated his importance and helped the Axis of Resistance become a transnational entity.”

He is the latest IRGC official to be killed in an apparent Israeli attack. Before him, Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in 2020.

Soleimani was a talismanic and almost spiritual figure both politically and militarily in Iran. The regime has since decentralized power among several senior officials, so Zahedi’s death is unlikely to have the same resonance.

Still, “this is going to hurt,” Stephens said. “I think the Iranians will have to respond. The question is how and against whom?”

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