Tehran vowed to retaliate after a raid blamed on Israel destroyed Iran's consulate in Syria, killing 12 people.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran vowed Tuesday to respond to any attack Air strike widely attributed to Israel Which destroyed the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus, the previous day and killed 12 people, including two Iranian generals and a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

A Syrian official said on Tuesday that four Syrian citizens were also killed in the raid, without providing any details about them. Hezbollah, which has been a key ally of both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and Iran, also vowed “punishment and revenge” against Israel.

Iran's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Zahra Ershadi, said at a controversial emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that some Iranians were injured, but “the final and accurate death toll remains uncertain as the entire diplomatic building has been destroyed with individuals trapped under the rubble.” .

Israel has It repeatedly targeted Iranian officers In Syria and Lebanon, it did not confirm Monday's attack.

Iran saves money and Weapons to Hezbollah, as well as Hamas And other Palestinian armed groups fighting Israel in Gaza. Clashes between Israel and Hezbollah have increased along the Israeli-Lebanese border since then The war in Gaza began nearly six months ago s.

Iranian state television reported that Iran's Supreme National Security Council, a key decision-making body, met late Monday and decided on the “required” response to the strike. She added that the meeting was chaired by President Ibrahim Raisi, without providing further details.

“We will make them regret the crime and similar actions,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state affairs in Iran.

The US National Security Council said that the United States played no role in the strike in Damascus and was not aware of it in advance. Deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Wood, told the UN Security Council: “We reported this directly to Iran,” adding that the United States “cannot confirm any information about this event.”

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Ershadi accused Israel of threatening regional and international peace, and declared that “the United States is responsible for all crimes committed by the Israeli regime.”

She said Iran had exercised “a great deal of restraint” but Israel must now bear “full responsibility” for the consequences of the attack. Iran reserves its rights under international law and the UN Charter to “take a decisive response to such reprehensible actions.”

Wood urged Iran and its proxies and partners in the region – Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis – to calm tensions, and repeated previous US warnings to them not to exploit the situation “to resume their attacks on the United States.” Personnel Affairs.”

Almost all Council members expressed concern that the Damascus attack, coupled with the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, could spread to the entire Middle East region, and beyond.

It was not clear if and when Iran would respond, but any retaliation by Tehran would risk a dangerous confrontation with Israel and the United States.

Later on Tuesday, Assad expressed his condolences in a phone call with Raisi and condemned Israel, Syrian news agency SANA reported.

The airstrike resulted in the deaths of General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who commanded the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016, his deputy, General Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers. Hezbollah member Hussein Yousef was also killed in the attack.

Syrian Health Minister Hassan Al-Ghobash said that in addition to the four Syrian citizens who were killed, 13 others were seriously injured in the air strike. No information was revealed about the wounded.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group, said the Syrians were members of pro-Iranian militias but did not provide details.

In announcing Youssef's death, Hezbollah also did not provide any details about him on Tuesday. She said Zahedi played a crucial role in helping “develop and enhance the work” of the group in Lebanon.

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Hezbollah’s statement said: “It is certain that this crime will not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge.”

Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous said after visiting the Iranian embassy in Damascus that rescue workers are still searching for bodies under the rubble of the consulate building.

since October 7, the outbreak of the Gaza warHowever, Iranian proxies have intensified their attacks, with almost daily cross-border exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel, and frequent attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges strikes against Iranian targets, said it had no comment on the latest attack in Syria, although a military spokesman blamed Iran for the attack. Drone attack early Monday Against a naval base in southern Israel.

Israel, increasingly impatient with exchanges with Hezbollah, has warned of the possibility of all-out war. The Houthis have also fired long-range missiles toward Israel, including on Monday.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said that his country is fighting a war on multiple fronts, “offensive and defensive.”

“We see evidence of this every day, including over the past few days,” Galant said, speaking before the Israeli parliament’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. “We work everywhere, every day, to prevent our enemies from gaining power and to make clear to everyone who acts against us – throughout the Middle East – that the price of acting against Israel will be high. “

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who received a phone call on Tuesday from the Iranian Foreign Minister, condemned the attack on the Iranian consulate and reaffirmed on Tuesday “the principle of inviolability of diplomatic and consular buildings,” according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Guterres also said that diplomatic personnel “must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law.”

At the UN Security Council meeting, Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia criticized the United States, the United Kingdom and France for failing to condemn Israel's violation of international law and deliberately attacking a diplomatic premise.

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He then told reporters that Russia would seek Security Council condemnation of the attack. Asked if he had any advice for Iran, Nebenzia replied: “I have advice for Israel to show restraint and not provoke further escalation, which is what it did this time.”

“On the contrary, it is Iran and its proxies that have carried out a number of attacks across the region,” America Wood responded.

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunity, the premises of a diplomatic mission may not be inviolable.

Gulf Arab states Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar condemned the strike as fears grew about the regional conflict expanding. The 22-nation Arab League criticized Israel, saying it aimed to “expand the scope of the war and push the region into chaos.”

The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that Iran conveyed an important message to the United States late Monday, which was delivered through the Swiss envoy in Tehran. Switzerland takes care of American interests in Iran, as there are no diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran.

IRNA also said that Iran holds the United States, Israel's closest ally, responsible for the strike.

Meanwhile, a US defense official said US forces detected and destroyed an attack drone in the Al-Tanf garrison in Syria on Monday afternoon.

No injuries or damage to infrastructure were reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that have not yet been announced. The official said the drone was close to the base, but it was not clear whether it was targeting the base.

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Chehayeb reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Sami Magdy in Cairo, Ellen Knickmeyer and Tara Cobb in Washington, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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