update deskIsrael at War

US tells Tehran not involved ‘in any way’ in Syria strike

The Biden administration was "only informed when the planes were on their way to their destination," American officials said.

Slain IRGC Quds Force commander in Syria and Lebanon Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahedi. Source: Social media.
Slain IRGC Quds Force commander in Syria and Lebanon Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahedi. Source: Social media.

The Biden administration informed Tehran directly that it was not involved “in any way” in an airstrike in Damasus on Monday afternoon that killed a top Iranian Quds Force commander, two U.S. officials told NBC News.

Seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the leader responsible for Syria and Lebanon, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, were killed in the attack on a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital.

Gen. Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, a deputy commander in the Quds Force, was among those killed, along with five other officers.

According to the sources, the U.S. did not know about the attack ahead of time, was “only informed when the planes were on their way to their destination,” and did not know who the target was.

Israel has not officially taken responsibility for the attack, but four Israeli officials told The New York Times that the Jewish state carried out the strike.

IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told CNN that the attack did not target the Iranian embassy or consulate.

“According to our intelligence, this place is neither a consulate nor an embassy. It is a military structure of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards,” Hagari said.

“In the last six months, Iran has been dragging the region to escalation. It is the main player, and it uses its agents in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen,” he added.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday condemned the alleged Israeli strike, warning the “cowardly crime will not go unanswered.

“After repeated defeats and failures against the faith and will of the Resistance Front fighters, the Zionist regime has put blind assassinations on its agenda in the struggle to save itself,” said Raisi, according to Agence France-Presse.

The United Nations Security Council was set to meet on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the strike.

Zahedi, a former chief of the IRGC’s terrorist ground forces, had been sanctioned by the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Monday publicly blamed the strike on the “Zionist regime” and vowed the Islamic Republic would respond “at the appropriate time and place.”

Also on Monday, the IDF intercepted a cruise missile from Syria before it crossed into Israeli territory, Ynet reported, saying that it was downed “by means of electronic warfare.”

The IDF in a statement said that a “suspicious aerial target” was detected and shot down in Syria after setting off warning sirens in northern Israel.

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