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Iran promises Israel ‘slap in the face’

The threat comes after the killing of two IRGC generals in Syria

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has vowed to punish Israel following an air raid on Damascus, Syria that killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. 

Two IRGC generals, Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, were among the casualties in Monday’s attack on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital. The Iranian head of state addressed the incident in a speech to government officials on Wednesday.

“The cowardly efforts by the Zionist regime like the one they carried out in Syria will not save them from defeat. They will of course receive a slap in the face for this move,” Khamenei said. 

Khamenei offered no details about what Tehran’s response might involve. When the US assassinated Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, Iran responded by raining ballistic missiles on American bases in neighboring Iraq, injuring over 100 US soldiers.

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Israel has repeatedly bombed Syria in recent years. On the rare occasions the Israeli government has acknowledged the attacks, it has described them as preemptive self-defense against Iran. This week’s strike, which targeted a consulate, has been widely condemned as crossing the line. 

Moscow denounced the strike as a breach of international law, while the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, described it as a terrorist attack committed by Israel. 

Purported Israeli airstrikes appear to be singling out commanders of the Quds Force, due to its support for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which has clashed with Israeli forces since the beginning of the latest conflict in Gaza.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after the deadly October 7 raids by the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group, which claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis. West Jerusalem has also accused Tehran of helping Hamas organize the attack, which Iran has denied.

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Israeli atrocities in Gaza are “unprecedented in history,” Khamenei said on Wednesday, adding that even Westerners have been appalled by their sheer scale. Over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed over the past six months, according to the local authorities, while much of Gaza has been turned to rubble.

He added that this year’s Quds Day demonstrations, which take place on the last Friday of Ramadan, will be “an international revolt against the usurper Zionist regime,” mobilizing supporters of Palestine in both Muslim countries and elsewhere.

Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, which was originally partitioned by the 1949 armistice, but has been under Israeli control since 1967. 

“We hope that our youth would see a day when the Holy Quds is controlled by the Muslims and they pray in it and the world of Islam celebrates the annihilation of the usurping regime,” Khamenei added.


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