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Israel 'will be punished,' Khamenei warns in Eid sermon

Describing last week's attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus as a "mistake," Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Israel "will be punished" for it.

Khamenei made the remarks during his Eid al-Fitr sermon in the Iranian capital of Tehran, after leading mass congregational prayers attended by tens of thousands of people.

He said the attack on the Iranian consulate amounts to an attack on Iranian soil, referring to the missile strike on the consular affairs building of the Iranian Embassy in the Syrian capital last week.

At least 13 people were killed in the attack, including seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military advisors, which Iranian authorities blamed on archrival Israel.

Among the dead were General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the IRGC's Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon, and his deputy, General Hadi Haj Rahemi.

"The evil regime made a mistake in this case, and it must and will be punished," Iran's supreme leader warned, escalating speculation that retaliatory military action is imminent.

Khamenei also denounced the Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, saying Tel Aviv is incapable of dealing with the resistance and is resorting to child killing.

He also lashed out at Western governments, saying the events in Gaza over the last six months have revealed the "evil nature of Western civilization."

Iran's top political and military leaders have in recent days issued strongly-worded statements, vowing retaliation for the attack that came amid heightened regional tensions.

A day after the attack on the Iranian consulate, Khamenei said Israel "will be punished at the hands of our brave men,” adding that the Iranian military will make Israel "regret the crime."

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, during his visit to Syria on Monday, accused the US of giving Israel the "green light" for the Damascus attack, claiming that the attack was carried out with US-made aircraft and missiles.

Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader, said none of the Israeli embassies are safe after the Damascus attack.

His remarks came amid reports that 28 Israeli diplomatic missions in the West Asia region have been closed in recent days in anticipation of an Iranian retaliatory strike.

Tensions between the two arch-foes, who do not have diplomatic relations, have escalated in the wake of the war on Gaza and other developments, including attacks on Israeli and American interests in the region by Iran-allied groups in Iraq and Yemen.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz emphasized Israel's readiness to retaliate in the event of an Iranian military strike.

"If Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack inside Iran," he wrote.

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