Iran’s supreme leader has threatened that Israel will ‘be slapped’ after an airstrike on the Iranian consular annex in Syria killed seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.

Iranian leaders reiterated their calls for revenge on Wednesday and vowed the deadly attack in Damascus on Monday ‘will not remain without answer’.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s supreme leader, said Israel will continue to fail on the battlefield in Gaza, and its defeats will bring it closer to collapse.

‘Desperate efforts like the act they committed in Syria will not save them from defeat and they will be slapped for the action, too,’ he said said in a speech to the country’s officials in the capital city of Tehran.

Iranian state media said 13 people were killed in the strike in which, according to Tehran’s ambassador, Israeli F-35 jets fired six missiles that levelled the five-storey consular building adjacent to the embassy.

The European Union on Wednesday condemned the airstrike, which has been widely blamed on Israel, and called on countries in the region to show restraint. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the strike, one of the most significant yet on Iranian interests in Syria.

Iran and its allies – including the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and other armed groups in Syria, Iraq and Yemen – have repeatedly traded fire with Israel and the US since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas.

Iran said the strike killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two commanders of the Quds Force – the Guards’ foreign operations arm – Brigadier Generals Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi.

Zahedi, 63, had held a succession of commands in the force in a Guards career spanning more than four decades.

In Syria, a funeral was held for the slain Revolutionary Guard members at a holy Shiite shrine in Damascus, official state media reported.

The main funeral ceremony of the IRGC members would be held on Friday, during an annual pro-Palestine rally, called al-Quds day.

‘The defeat of the Zionist regime in Gaza will continue and this regime will be close to decline and dissolution,’ Khamenei vowed in his speech on Wednesday.

Iran’s supreme leader, who has the final say in major state policies, urged people to take to the streets for this year’s event.

‘If in previous years, Quds Day was celebrated only in Islamic countries, this year, most likely, Quds Day will also be celebrated in non-Islamic countries.’

He also said he hoped for a day that ‘the Muslim world can celebrate the destruction of Israel.’

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said the attack ‘will not remain without answer.’

The airstrike Monday destroyed Iran’s Consulate in Damascus. It’s not clear if and when Iran would respond, but any retaliation from Tehran would risk a dangerous confrontation with Israel and the US.

The strike has been condemned by the EU, which a spokesperson for the executive European Commission saying ‘in this highly tense regional situation, it is imperative to show utmost restraint’.

Iran blamed Israel for the attack, which killed two of its generals and five military advisers at its embassy compound in Damascus. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the strike, one of the most significant yet on Iranian interests in Syria.

European Commission spokesperson Peter Stano, in a post on X, said: ‘The principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases and in all circumstances in accordance with international law.’

Speaking to Al Jazeera TV while visiting the Middle East, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the ‘unacceptable’ attack risked stoking an escalation of the conflict in the region and urged Israel to explain if it played any role.

‘It’s not acceptable, it needs to be clarified by the Israeli government… We are very concerned about the situation and that is why we ask the Israeli government to try to avoid this regional escalation,’ Sanchez said.

Meanwhile, the US is concerned that the apparent Israeli airstrike could trigger new attacks on American troops by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, the top US Air Force commander for the Middle East said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich said Iran’s assertion that America bears responsibility for Israeli actions could bring an end to the pause in militia attacks on US forces that has lasted since early February.

He said he sees no specific threat to American troops right now, but ‘I am concerned because of the Iranian rhetoric talking about the US, that there could be a risk to our forces’

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Tuesday that the US assessed that the airstrike in the Syrian capital of Damascus was done by Israel.

Grynkewich told reporters the US is watching and listening carefully to what Iran is saying and doing to evaluate how Tehran might respond.

Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria were launching repeated attacks on US forces at bases in those countries late last year, and in late January killed three US service members and injured dozens more at a base in Jordan.

In retaliation, the US launched a massive air assault, hitting more than 85 targets at seven locations in Iraq and Syria, including command and control headquarters, drone and ammunition storage sites and other facilities connected to the militias or the IRGC’s Quds Force, the Guard’s expeditionary unit that handles Tehran’s relationship with and arming of regional militias.

There have been no attacks on US troops in the region since that response.

Source » dailymail