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Source: AP News

Dec 28, 2023

Iran holds funeral for a general who was killed by an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran held a funeral Thursday for a high-ranking general of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard who was killed by an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria.

Hundreds of mourners accompanied the flag-draped casket of Gen. Razi Mousavi from a central square of Tehran to a shrine in the north of the city where he was buried.

The head of the Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, praised Mousavi and vowed his death would be avenged.

“We will never keep silent in the face of martyrdom of the sons of this nation,” Salami said. “Our revenge will be tough as always, but a revenge that could compensate for the martyrdom of Seyed Razi is nothing but the removal of Israel from the face of existence.”

Iran does not recognize Israel and occasionally calls for destruction of the Jewish state.

Salami described Mousavi as a close companion of Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in January 2020. He said Iran also would avenge Soleimani’s death and that Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel that triggered the war in Gaza were an unrelated and independent action.

“I officially announce that the Al-Aqsa Storm was and is fully Palestinian. Palestine is capable on its own,” the general said.

The crowd chanted, “No compromise! No surrender! Battle with America!”

Israel views Iran as its greatest threat because of Tehran’s disputed nuclear program and its support for regional militant groups like Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have targeted international shipping in what they portray as a blockade of Israel.

Iran insists its regional allies act independently.

Earlier Thursday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed before Mousavi’s casket, state TV footage showed. Khamenei offered condolences to family of the general and a group of ranking officials who were present in the prayer.

The killing of the general, a longtime adviser of the Guard in Syria, comes amid ongoing fears of the Israel-Hamas war broadening into a regional conflict. Iran-backed groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq have launched attacks on Israel and its allies in support of Hamas.

In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria. It occasionally says it’s targeting Iran-backed groups that have backed President Bashar Assad’s government. Iran said an Israeli strike earlier this month killed two of its generals.

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