An explosion in the Syrian capital has resulted in the deaths of five senior members of Iran’s security forces, it has been reported.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard blamed the attack in Damascus on Israel, which they say also killed several Syrian forces.
Israel which has yet not commented on the attack but has a history of conducting air strikes on Iranian-linked targets in Syria, which are said to have increased since Hamas’s attacks on Israel on 7 October.
Ambulances and fire engines arrived as a search for those trapped under the rubble got under way.
A grocer near the scene said he heard five consecutive explosions at about 9.15am (6.15am GMT), adding that he saw the bodies of a man and a woman being taken away as well as three injured people.
Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi warned the air strike will not “go unanswered”.
He also sent his his condolences to the families of what he described as “high-ranking martyrs” and vowed to avenge their deaths.
In a statement issued on his website Mr Raisi described the attack as a “cowardly assassination of five of Iran’s most distinguished advisors”.
He also said the strike was “terrorist and criminal” and said it “shows the height of [Israel’s] desperation and weakness against the combatants of the resistance front”.
Iran’s foreign ministry condemned the bombing, labelling it a “desperate attempt to spread instability in region”, state media reported.
“Iran … reserves its right to respond to the organised terrorism of the fake Zionist regime at the appropriate time and place,” said Nasser Kanaani, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman. He called on the international community to condemn the attack.
The Syrian army claimed the building in the tightly-guarded western Damascus area of Mazzeh was entirely destroyed, adding that the Israeli Air Force fired the missiles while flying over Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
An opposition war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least six people – five Iranians and a Syrian – were killed in the missile attack that struck while officials from Iran-backed groups were holding a meeting.
The Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdurrahman, said three of the Iranians were commanders, adding that four others were still missing under the rubble.
Syrian state TV reported that the “Israeli aggression” targeted a residential building in Mazzeh, home to several diplomatic missions. Saturday’s strike was close to the embassies of Venezuela and South Africa.
An official said that the building was used by Revolutionary Guard officials, adding that the “Israeli missiles” destroyed the whole building and that 10 people were either killed or wounded in the attack.
The strike came amid widening tensions in the region as Israel pushes ahead with its offensive in Gaza.
The war Israel-Has war has stoked tensions across the region, threatening to ignite other conflicts.
Over the past weeks, rockets have been fired from Syria into northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, adding to tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border and attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Hours later on Saturday it was reported a suspected Israeli drone strike on a car near the Lebanese southern port city of Tyre killed two two Hezbollah members, according to state-run National News Agency.
Additional reporting by AP and Reuters