Iranian consulate in Damascus destroyed in suspected Israeli airstrike

DAMASCUS, Syria — Iran’s consulate in Damascus was destroyed on Monday in what has been described by Syrian and Iranian media as an Israeli airstrike, marking a significant escalation in Middle East tensions potentially pitting Israel against Iran and its allies.

A Lebanese security source told Reuters that among those killed was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iranian state television reported that several Iranian diplomats also perished in the attack.

Reuters journalists observed smoke rising from the ruins of a building in the Mezzeh district of Damascus, with emergency vehicles stationed outside.

An Iranian flag was seen draped in front of the debris.

Both Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers were reported to be at the scene.Israel, having conducted numerous strikes on Iranian positions in the ongoing six-month conflict in Gaza, has not commented on this specific incident, maintaining its policy of silence on operations reported by foreign media.According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, the airstrike resulted in five deaths.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency also reported an unspecified number of casualties.Following an attack by the Iranian-backed Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7, Israel intensified its airstrikes in Syria targeting positions of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, both supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.