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Iran vows to ‘punish Zionist regime’ over deadly strike on Iranian consulate attributed to Israel

TEHRAN, Iran — The commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Friday that “our brave men will punish the Zionist regime,” escalating threats against Israel for an airstrike that killed seven of the group’s members, including two Iranian generals, earlier this week.

The strike, widely attributed to Israel, destroyed the consular section at the Iranian embassy in Syria. The attack on an Iranian diplomatic compound was a significant escalation in what has been a long-running shadow war between the two archenemies, and Israel has been bracing for an Iranian response.

Iran has long vowed to destroy Israel

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

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

On Friday, thousands joined a funeral procession in Tehran for the seven slain Guard members, chanting “death to Israel” and “death to America.”

Marchers held up banners with the photos of those killed in the attack. Other banners read: “We will make the wicked Zionist regime regret this crime, with the power of God.”

The protesters then headed to Tehran University where the head of the Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami gave his speech before the weekly Friday prayers.

“Our brave men will punish the Zionist regime,” he said, adding that “no enemy act against our holy system will go unanswered.”

“The collapse of (the Zionist regime) is very possible and close with God’s grace,” Salami said, adding that the U.S. has become “wildly hated by the world, especially in Muslim-dominated countries” for supporting Israel.

It was not clear if Iran would respond directly or continue to activate its proxies, as it has done throughout the Gaza war.

In all, 12 people were killed in Monday’s strike on the Iranian diplomatic compound — the seven Guard members, four Syrians and a Hezbollah member.

Friday’s public funeral fell on Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, a traditional Iranian show of support for the Palestinians that has been held on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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