AFP reporters saw the annex building had caved in, and emergency services were rushing to search for victims under the rubble as sirens wailed in the upscale Damascus district of Mazzeh.

Security sources shielded the site where earth-moving equipment was brought in to clear the debris and remove charred vehicles from the road outside, watched by a crowd of onlookers.

Syria’s defence ministry said, “the attack destroyed the entire building, killing and injuring everyone inside, and work is underway to recover the bodies and rescue the wounded from under the rubble”.

IRANIAN COMMANDER KILLED

Iranian state TV said among those killed was a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

The Observatory said it had “confirmed the killing of a high-ranking leader who served as the leader of the Quds Force for Syria and Lebanon, two Iranian advisors, and five members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard”.

The Damascus strikes were the fifth in eight days to hit Syria, whose President Bashar al-Assad is supported by Iran, Israel’s long-time enemy in the region.

Iran’s ambassador, Akbari, said that “the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate shows the reality of the Zionist entity which recognises no international laws and does all that is inhumane to achieve its goals”.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a call with his Syrian counterpart that Tehran holds Israel responsible for the consequences of the attack, according to Iran’s state media on Monday.

The strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus is “a breach of all international conventions”, Amirabdollahian added, and he called for a “serious response by the international community”.

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