DAMASCUS, Syria — An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran’s embassy in Syria, killing a senior Iranian military adviser and roughly a handful of other people, Syrian state media said Monday.

The strike on the Iranian consulate building could mark an escalation of the Israeli military’s ongoing targeting of Iranian military officials and allies in Syria, which have intensified since the onset of its war with Hamas in Gaza on Oct.7.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges such strikes, said it had no comment about the Syrian media reports.

The Iranian Arabic-language state television Al-Alam and pan-Arab television station Al-Mayadeen, which has reporters in Syria, said the strike killed Iranian military adviser Gen. Ali Reza Zahdi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016.

Iranian Ambassador Hossein Akbari condemned Israel and said as many as seven people were killed, but first responders were still searching for any other bodies under the rubble. He said two police officers who guard the building were wounded.

Akbari vowed revenge for the strike “at the same magnitude and harshness.”

In comments to the media after meeting Akbari, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said “several” people were killed. Mekdad in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, condemned Israel over the attack.

Iranian state television said the Iranian ambassador’s residence was in the consular building, which stood next to the embassy.

State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military source, said the building in the tightly guarded neighborhood of Mazzeh was leveled.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets in government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years.

Such airstrikes have escalated in recent months against the backdrop of Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and ongoing clashes between Israel’s military and Hezbollah on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Though it rarely acknowledges its actions in Syria, Israel has said it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

An Israeli airstrike in a Damascus neighborhood in December killed a longtime adviser of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Syria, Seyed Razi Mousavi. A similar strike on a building in Damascus in January killed at least five Iranian advisers. Last week, airstrikes over the strategic eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour near the Iraqi border killed an Iranian adviser.

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Chehayeb reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.



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