Hezbollah says 'punishment' will come after Israeli strike on Iranian consulate

Hezbollah warned Tuesday that Israel will pay for killing high-level Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in a strike on the country's consulate in Damascus, Syria, the day before.

The airstrike in Syria killed Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016, according to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. It also killed Zahedi’s deputy, Gen. Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers.

Hezbollah said in a statement that Zahedi played a crucial role in helping “develop and advance the work” of the group in Lebanon. It said he was "one of the first to support, sacrifice, and persevere for many years to develop the work of the resistance in Lebanon".

“This crime will certainly not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge,” Hezbollah warned.

Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 11 people were killed in the strikes, including eight Iranians, two Syrians and one Lebanese, all of them fighters.

The Observatory said Zahedi was killed along with his deputy, his aide, and the Quds force chief of staff for Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

Israel said it would not comment on the reported attack, but Iranian officials vowed a stiff response with fears of even further violence between Israel and Iran's allies triggered by the Gaza war.

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza nearly six months ago, Hezbollah has stepped up attacks, leading to near daily cross-border exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel.

Source: Associated Press, Naharnet

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