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Iran holds funeral for general killed by alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria

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

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

Guard chief Gen. Hossein Salami congratulated Mousavi and vowed his death would be avenged.

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

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

Salami described Mousavi as a close companion of General Qassim Soleimanihead of Iran’s elite Quds force killed by US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020. He said Iran would also avenge Soleimani’s death and the October 7 Hamas attacks in southern Israel that sparked the war war in Gaza were an unrelated and independent action.

“I officially announce that the Al-Aqsa storm was and is entirely Palestinian. Palestine alone is capable of this,” the general said.

The crowd chanted: “No compromise! No surrender! Fight with America! »

Israel views Iran as its greatest threat due to Tehran’s controversial nuclear program and its support for regional militant groups like Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have targeted international shipping in this area. which they present as a blockade of Israel.

Iran insists its regional allies act independently.

Earlier on Thursday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed before Mousavi’s coffin, state television footage showed. Khamenei offered his condolences to the general’s family and a group of senior officials present at the prayers.

The assassination of the general, a longtime adviser to the Guard in Syria, comes amid lingering fears about war between Israel and Hamas. widening into a regional conflict. Iranian-backed groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq have launched attacks against Israel and its allies in support of Hamas.

In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against targets in government-controlled areas of Syria. It sometimes claims it targets Iranian-backed groups that have supported the government of President Bashar Assad. Iran announced an Israeli strike earlier this month killed two of his generals.

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