Home Spanish News Israel kills three prominent Iranian military commanders at the ambassador’s residence in Damascus | International

Israel kills three prominent Iranian military commanders at the ambassador’s residence in Damascus | International

Israel kills three prominent Iranian military commanders at the ambassador’s residence in Damascus | International

Israel seems to be shooting higher and higher and farther and farther. On Monday, one of the most prominent Iranian military commanders in Syria, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, died in an aerial bombing of the ambassador’s residence in Damascus. The attack killed at least eight people, seven of them from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, including Zahedi and two other senior military officers. Both Syria and Iran blame Israel, which has attacked the country hundreds of times since the Syrian war began in 2011, although it is usually silent about its involvement, as on this occasion. Last Friday, another aerial bombing attributed to Israel was the deadliest one in Syria since 2021. It caused some 40 deaths near the capital’s airport and was targeting Hezbollah, the Tehran-allied Lebanese militia fighting on the side of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian blamed Israel for the attack’s “consequences.” The two actions, which closely followed each other, increase the risk of further inflaming the Middle East.

Reza Zahedi was a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, created by Ayatollah Khomeini after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. With some 125,000 men, the Pasdaran (as they are often called) spearhead Iran’s policy in the region.

Ambassador Hossein Akbari, who was unhurt in the attack, has said that F-35 fighter-bombers (which the U.S. supplies to Israel) launched up to six missiles at the building, which appears completely destroyed in images. His office is next door. Akbari, who vowed that his country will respond “harshly,” put the number of dead at between five and seven. “We cannot give an exact figure until the rubble is lifted,” he said on Iranian state television. Shortly afterward, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an NGO with numerous partners on the ground, claimed that the bombing killed five members of the Revolutionary Guard and two Iranian advisors.

This is the first attack on the Embassy compound, which is located in the protected Mezzeh district, where Pashtun and Palestinian militia leaders close to Iran (mostly Islamic Jihad) and other countries usually reside and visit, and other countries have their diplomatic delegations.

‘The head of the octopus’

Israel is targeting its archenemy Iran as the mastermind and financer of the October 7 Hamas attack and has made it clear that its retaliation will not be limited to Hamas alone. “Who says we are not attacking Iran, we are attacking… Iran is the head of the octopus and you see its tentacles all around from the Houthis [in Yemen] to Hezbollah to Hamas,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference in January.

The Israeli army has been escalating its attacks outside Gaza for weeks and stepped up so-called “targeted assassinations.” Last week it launched its deadliest attack inside Lebanon, killing 16 people. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced then that it will “expand the campaign and increase the rate of attacks” against Hezbollah because “Israel is turning from defending to pursuing Hezbollah, we will reach wherever the organization operates, in Beirut, Damascus and in more distant places.”

The military affairs correspondent for Israeli TV Channel 13, Or Heller, linked the attack to the negotiations of a second cease-fire, which have been taking place in Qatar for weeks (including Monday, although without the participation of delegates from Israel and Hamas). Heller asserts that Tehran is urging Hamas to stand firm in its demands and that an assassination “in broad daylight inside the compound of the Iranian Embassy in Damascus is a clear message.”

Destruction and dead bodies in Al Shifa

The attack in Syria came hours after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, after a two-week invasion. The troops’ departure has allowed for the first images: charred buildings, corpses on the ground and piles of rubble.

The soldiers withdrew in the early hours of Monday morning, ending an operation in which Israel claims to have killed “200 terrorists” and detained some 500 more. The army blames Palestinian militias for using hospitals to launch attacks, a claim Hamas denies. “No hospital in the world looks like this. This is what a house of terrorists looks like,” Netanyahu said on Sunday. The Hamas-controlled government in Gaza puts the death toll at around 400, noting that these figures include civilians, patients, medical personnel and displaced persons.

After the troops’ withdrawal, hundreds of Gazans came to see the state of the hospital. Health authorities speak of entire units destroyed. Videos on social media show fire-blackened buildings with signs of gunfire and shelling on the walls. Raed al-Nims, a representative of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, claims that the Israeli military set numerous apartments on fire and that there are “many corpses” on the ground.

According to Gaza Civil Defense spokesman Mahmud Busal, some bodies show signs of execution, are in an advanced state of decomposition or have been buried because military vehicles pulled up the streets. The Ministry of Health reports “very serious damage,” while Israel speaks of a “precise operation” in which it protected displaced persons, patients and personnel while fighting hand-to-hand against militiamen.

The extent of the destruction in Al Shifa adds yet another problem to Gaza’s healthcare system, which is “barely surviving,” according to last Friday’s report from the United Nations humanitarian affairs office. Ten of the 36 hospitals in Gaza before the war, which also house tens of thousands of displaced persons, are still functioning, but only partially. As a result, on Monday the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health asked the population to reserve hospitals “only for the sick and wounded.”

Israel will prevent the ‘terrorist channel’ Al Jazeera from broadcasting

“The terrorist channel Al Jazeera will no longer broadcast from Israel. I intend to act immediately in accordance with the new law to stop the channel’s activity,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday. His comments came after the Israeli Parliament passed a law that allows a temporary ban on the broadcasting of foreign media that “harm Israel’s security.” It is called the Al Jazeera Law and will be in effect until July or until the end of the war in Gaza.

In a surprise vote, the law received 71 votes in favor and 10 against. In an atmosphere of hostility toward the major satellite channel, the measure had already passed its first reading in February. In the months following the October 7 attack, some Israelis have approached the press to ask if they were from Al Jazeera and harassed some of its journalists.

The law gives the communications minister the power to order content providers to stop broadcasting from the country, shut down offices, confiscate equipment and block web servers. The current minister, Shlomo Karhi, has already made it clear that the channel will close in the coming days because the “propaganda arm of Hamas” does not deserve freedom of expression. The decision will apply for 45 days — which can be renewed — and requires prior review by a district court.

The Qatar-based chain has been in Israel’s crosshairs for years, but in the past decade the emirate was seen as helping Gaza’s stability with its millions of dollars and the rebuilding of entire neighborhoods. After the October 7 attack, with Netanyahu calling on the U.S. to start pressuring Doha to secure concessions from Hamas in the cease-fire negotiations, the discourse has changed. “Al Jazeera harmed Israel’s security, actively participated in the Oct. 7 massacre, and incited against Israeli soldiers. It is time to remove the bullhorn of Hamas from our country,” Netanyahu has said.

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