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Deadly Damascus Airstrike Wipes Out Senior Iranian Commanders, Iran Vows Revenge on Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Iran is blaming Israel and threatening revenge for an airstrike on a building close to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus Monday that killed senior Iranian commanders. 

The attack in the Syrian capital is considered an attack on sovereign Iranian territory. 

Israel is not taking credit for the blast that killed Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a top leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force responsible for overseeing Lebanon and Syria.

Iran backs, trains, and supplies Arab terror groups to operate against Israel.

Zahedi and his deputy were meeting with terrorist leaders inside the consulate, likely planning further strikes on Israel.

Iran is threatening a "harsh" retaliation, and Hezbollah said the "enemy" would receive "punishment and revenge," accusing Israel of escalating its war against Iranian proxies.

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Still, CBN News war correspondent Chuck Holton believes Iran doesn't want a one-on-one war with Israel, preferring instead to use Arab terrorist forces arrayed around the Jewish state.

"They want to continue through this proxy war, through fighting Israel through the Houthis, through Hezbollah, and through Hamas,' Holton said.

Iran also operates through the particularly lethal move of heavily arming terrorists inside Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank.

Israeli security forces keep finding weapons there shipped by Iran.

Holton described it as "massive amounts of explosives. He added, "They're starting to find mines – land mines, hand grenades, rockets, light anti-tank weapons – all sorts of weapons like that.  And that bodes very poorly for Israel."

If a force the size of the one from Gaza that struck Israel on October 7th came out of Judea and Samaria instead, the destruction and death toll could be much worse.

"Because it basically surrounds Jerusalem on three sides," Holton explained. "If 15-hundred bad guys had come across into Jerusalem and started going crazy, they could easily have killed a lot more people. They could absolutely wreak havoc in Jerusalem, the capital city."

Aid Workers Killed in Gaza

In Gaza, Israel will investigate the death of seven international aid workers from the World Central Kitchen that Palestinian media says were killed in an Israeli airstrike.

The Israeli military claims it is "making great efforts to enable the safe passage of humanitarian aid, and is working in full cooperation and coordination with the WCK organization to support their efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip."

US Still Protesting Israel's Plans to Take Final Hamas Stronghold

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department announced that high-level officials from Israel and the U.S. continue to discuss Israel's impending invasion of Rafah, Hamas' last major stronghold in Gaza.

State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller says the American contention is that Israel will do damage to its own reputation in the world, as well as endanger Gazan civilians.

"We think that a full-scale invasion of Rafah would only further that impact to Israel's standing. So we're going to make that case to them. Ultimately, they're a sovereign country and will make their own decisions."

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and