US gathering more information on Damascus consulate attack: State Department

US gathering more information on Damascus consulate attack: State Department

'We're always concerned about anything that would be escalatory or cause an increase in conflict in the region,' spokesman says

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US on Monday said it does not have confirmation on the suspected Israeli strike targeting the Iranian Consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus and expressed concern about escalation in the region.

During his press briefing, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the US is in conversations with partners in the region to gather more information.

"But at this point, don't have confirmation," Miller said "We are gathering information."

Asked if the US is concerned whether the strike further escalates tension in the region, Miller said: "I don't want to speak to it specifically, but of course, we're always concerned about anything that would be escalatory or cause an increase in conflict in the region."

Miller said there is no reason the incident should have any impact on the hostage talks.

Early Monday, General Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the IRGC's Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon, was reportedly killed in a strike that destroyed the Iranian consulate building next to the Iranian Embassy, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

General Zahedi was a veteran IRGC commander who previously commanded the IRGC's ground force and air force and also served as the deputy commander of the IRGC's military operations.

There are also unconfirmed reports about the killing of General Rahimi, who served as General Zahedi's deputy, and Gen. Hossein Amirullah, head of the IRGC general staff in Syria and Lebanon.

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has said he holds Israel responsible for the attack while Iranian Ambassador in Damascus Hossein Akbari said the attack is against all international conventions and will see a "decisive response."

The attack came amid heightened tensions in the region in the wake of the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 32,800 Palestinians and spawned the worst humanitarian crisis.

US gathering more information on Damascus consulate attack: State Department

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