Syria says an Israeli airstrike destroyed the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Damascus, killing him

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – An Israeli jet has destroyed the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing or injuring everyone inside, Syrian media said Monday.

The Iranian Arabic-language state television Al-Alam and the pan-Arab TV station Al-Mayadeen, which are journalists in Syria, said the strike killed Iran’s military advisor Gen. Ali Reza Zahdi. Zahdi previously led Iran’s Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016.

There was no official confirmation from Iran.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters after a meeting with Iran’s ambassador, Hossein Akbari, that “many” people had been killed, without further details. Iranian state television said the residence of the Iranian ambassador was located in the embassy building, which stood next to the embassy.

State news agency SANA, citing unnamed soldiers, said the building in the highly protected area of ​​Mazzeh was destroyed. First responders were searching for bodies under the debris.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which was established in Britain, said that the attack has killed at least six people.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment. Israel has carried out hundreds of protests against targets inside government-controlled areas of Syria in recent years.

Such flights have increased in recent months in response to Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing conflict between the Israeli army and Hezbollah on the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Although it has rarely acknowledged its actions in Syria, Israel has said it is fighting Iran-allied terrorist groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of troops to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

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Chehayeb reported from Beirut. Associated Press reporter Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this story.

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