TheCondemnation and an Apology From Netanyahu were caused by the strikes on Aid Convoy

Iran’s Foreign Minister During the October 7 Gaza Attack: Israel and the Hamas Forces in the Damascus Region

AMMAN, Jordan — Iran said Monday that Israel killed two of its generals and several others in an airstrike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Iran’s state media said that at least 7 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite overseas wing, known as the Quds Force, were killed when Israeli F-35s struck the building. The airstrike leveled the Iranian embassy annex, according to Syrian state media.

Israel has not yet commented on the airstrike but Israeli media reported that Israel has placed several embassies around the world on heightened alert after Iran publicly blamed Israel and vowed retaliation.

The military advisor killed in Monday’s airstrike was identified by Iranian media. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Five people were killed in the blast, including his deputy and general in the IRGC.

The foreign ministry spokesman for Iran said Monday’s attack was a “gross violation” of international convention. He vowed Iran would take “necessary action” against the attack.

According to the Iranian state news agency Irna, Iran’s Foreign Minister gave a phone call to his counterpart in Syria saying that Benjamin Netanyahu lost his mind due to the regime’s defeats in Gaza.

Israel has been waging a military offensive in the Gaza Strip since an October attack on Israel led by Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that receives some support from Iran. Israel says the Oct. 7 attack killed 1,200 people.

Iran said at the start of the Gaza war that it had not known in advance of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. It backs, arms and supervises armed groups in the region.

So far Iran and Hezbollah have both appeared reluctant to start an all-out war with Israel across that border. But heightened Hezbollah attacks could be one means of retaliation.

Iran could wait for its time. Mr. Amidror, the former Israeli national security adviser, said he doubted the strike would lead to a broader escalation between Israel and Iran, such as an all-out war involving Hezbollah along Israel’s northern border.

The strike could help Mr. Netanyahu rehabilitate his reputation as Mr Security, because he has emphasized the fact that Israel’s main enemy is Iran. Even so, it may not be enough, she said, with Israel bogged down in Gaza, Hamas so far unbeaten and Iran and its proxies undiminished.

It is often called the war between the wars, with Iran and Israel being the main adversaries, sparring in the shadows.

The Iranian officials who were killed Monday had been deeply engaged for decades in arming and guiding proxy forces in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen as part of Iran’s clearly stated effort to destabilize and even destroy the Jewish state.

The elimination of key Iranian military figures is considered a political coup by Benjamin Netanyahu. Protests call for his resignation as the war with Hamas drags on, and Israeli hostages remain in Gaza.

Ali Vaez, Iran project director for the International Crisis Group, said that since the beginning of the war, Israel has begun to target Iranian officials involved in relations with its proxies, not just the advanced weapons Tehran delivers.

He said that no one was replaceable in the Iranian system because Israel had eliminated so many generals. “Iran knows this is a perilous game and there is a price tag attached.”

Some worry that the price may be paid by Israeli allies. Ralph Goff, a former senior C.I.A. official who served in the Middle East, called Israel’s strike “incredibly reckless,” adding that “the Israelis are writing checks that U.S. CentCom forces will have to cash,” referring to the U.S. military’s Central Command.

It will only cause Iran and its proxies in the region to increase their attacks on the U.S. forces in the region.

She said that it would be hard to create a vision of the Mideast that existed before Oct. 7 because of the war and civilian toll.

Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser, called the death of General Zahedi “an enormous blow to Iran’s immediate capabilities in the region.” He had helped oversee Iran’s attempt to build a “ring of fire” around Israel via its militant proxies while keeping Tehran’s involvement at arm’s length, Mr. Amidror said.

When Iran retaliates will raise the stakes even further. The response to the assassination four years ago of Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force is one of the most obvious recent examples. Then, Iran launched a major missile attack against an American base in Iraq, but only after warning of the attack in advance. There were no immediate U.S. casualties, though more than 100 military personnel suffered traumatic brain injuries, the Pentagon later said.

“But one of the lessons from Suleimani is that even if you take out someone critical, the network and the redundancy Iran has established with the groups survives quite well,” Ms. Maloney said.

Iran has tried to diffuse the tensions with the U.S. since January, when three Americans were killed in a drone attack near the Jordanian-Syrian border.

It could make other choices — a major cyberattack on Israeli infrastructure or its military, a barrage of rockets from southern Lebanon, a similar assassination of an Israeli commander, an attack on an Israeli embassy abroad, or another sharp acceleration of its nuclear-enrichment program.

A direct riposte to Mr. Netanyahu, who has long warned about the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, is what the last would be. Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program is peaceful even as it has enriched uranium to close to weapons grade.

“Their interests haven’t changed in the aftermath. He said they will look for revenge, but that is not the only thing they will look for.

He pointed out the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina, which killed 29 people, and came as a result of the assassination of the Hezbollah leader.

The moment Israel’s devastating war in the Gaza Strip ends, the unfinished conflict within Israel over its future will begin again. Prime Minister Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners know this. That may be, in part, why they have set the improbable aim of “total victory” as the war’s ultimate objective, and why they have so far refused any deal that would end the fighting in exchange for returning the roughly 100 hostages still in Hamas captivity. The war is Israel’s longest since it gained independence from the Kingdom of Israel.

According to a poll, only 15% of Israelis want him to stay in office after the war. A recent poll done by Israel’s Channel 13 said that most Israelis did not trust Mr. Netanyahu in handling the war. His right-wing party has also suffered a collapse in support.

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