Iranian commander renews pledge to avenge Syria strike that killed 12

US and Israel on high alert as general says Iran will decide when and how to stage a revenge operation

A top military commander has renewed Iran’s promise to retaliate after an air strike earlier this week widely blamed on Israel destroyed Iran’s consulate in Syria, killing 12 people, including two Iranian generals.

General Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s joint chief of staff, on Saturday told mourners gathered for the funeral of General Mohammad Reza Zahdi that Iran will decide when and how to stage an “operation” to take revenge.

Gen Zahdi was the highest ranking commander killed in Monday’s attack.

The attack on an Iranian diplomatic compound was a significant escalation in a long-running shadow war between the two arch enemies, and Israel and the US have been bracing for an Iranian response.


“We’re definitely at a high state of vigilance,” a US official said in confirming a CNN report that said an attack could come in the next week.

In all, 12 people were killed in the strike – seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard members, four Syrians and a Hizbollah militia member.

“The time, type, plan of the operation will be decided by us, in a way that makes Israel regret what it did,” Gen Bagheri said. “This will definitely be done.”

On Friday, the commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, General Hossein Salami, warned that “our brave men will punish the Zionist regime”, escalating threats against Israel.

Tensions have flared against the backdrop of the six-month-old Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, and raised renewed fears of a broader regional conflict. The Islamic militant group Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 17 years, is one of Iran’s proxies, along with Lebanon’s Hizbollah militia and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Both Hizbollah and the Houthis have carried out attacks along the fringes of the Gaza war, with Hizbollah engaging in daily cross-border exchanges with Israel and the Houthis frequently targeting Red Sea shipping.

Gen Bagheri made the comments in Isfahan, Gen Zahedi’s hometown, about 440km south of the capital Tehran. – AP