Israeli Airstrike Threatens to Entangle the US

White House says it played no role in attack in Syrian capital that killed Iranian general
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2024 8:29 AM CDT
Israel's Airstrike Threatens to Entangle the US
Emergency services workers at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024.   (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)

Iran is promising revenge over an Israeli airstrike in Syria on Monday that killed a top general and six other officers. One big question is what form that revenge will take and whether it will draw the US into a widening regional conflict. Coverage:

  • The strike: Israel attacked an Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital of Damascus, and it "stood out both because of its location—in a diplomatic compound, traditionally exempted from hostilities—and because of the seniority of the apparent target," per the Washington Post. The New York Times calls it "one of the deadliest attacks of the yearslong shadow war between Israel and Iran."

  • Blowback: Iran President Ebrahim Raisi said the attack would be answered, and the nation's Supreme National Security Council declared Tuesday that a response was "required," reports the AP. The outlet frames a big unknown: "It was not clear if Iran would respond itself, risking a dangerous confrontation with Israel and its ally the United States, or if it would continue to rely on proxies, including Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and Yemen's Houthi rebels."
  • US entanglement: Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian warned that the "US must answer" for the strike as Israel's ally. However, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council said "the United States had no involvement," and the US relayed that same message directly to Iran. Axios suggests the quick message signals that the White House is "deeply concerned that the Israeli strike could lead to a regional escalation and the resumption of attacks by pro-Iranian militias against U.S. forces."
  • Big name: The airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the elite Quds Force and was seen as a key player in Iran's support for Hezbollah. His deputy and five other officers also were killed, reports the BBC.
(More Iran stories.)

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