Iran Keeps Promising Payback

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard General Hossein Salami said Friday "no threat will go unanswered" in retaliation for the airstrike widely attributed to Israel that destroyed the Iranian Consulate in Syria's capital and killed seven of the guard's members, including two top generals.

This came after thousands marched chanting "death to Israel" and "death to America" during the slain officers' funeral procession in the capital.

The marches in the capital, Tehran, along with protests in other Iranian cities, took place at a time of heightened concerns about possible retribution by Iran for Monday's strike that killed 12 people, including four Syrian citizens and a member of the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group, according to officials.

The protesters in the capital headed to Tehran University where Salami gave his speech before the weekly Friday prayers.

"We warn you, no enemy act against our holy system will go unanswered," he said speaking on a podium showing a big placard with the Arabic phrase "Flood of the Free" emblazoned on it.

"The collapse of (the Zionist regime) is very possible and close with God's grace," Salami said, adding that the U.S. has become "wildly hated by the world, especially in Muslim-dominated countries" for supporting Israel.

He said that Israel's current survival depended on U.S. support.

Salami also said that "resistance groups in Gaza are surrounded by Israel.. and weapons can't be sent to them," referring to the Israel-Hamas war that broke out on Oct.7.

He claimed that "messages sent from inside Gaza show that they have no problem to continue enduring (the war)."

The public funeral coincided with Iran's annual rally Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, a traditional show of support for the Palestinians that has been held on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranian leaders have reiterated promises of revenge. On Wednesday Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said the attack "will not remain without answer."

By attacking an Iranian diplomatic station, Israel's apparent escalation has raised fears that the devastating six-month war against Hamas could spill over into the entire Mideast region and beyond.

Israel faces increasing isolation as international criticism mounts over its killing of six foreign aid workers this week who were trying to deliver desperately needed food in Gaza.

Iran does not recognize Israel and views it as its archenemy. It also supports militant groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Clashes between Israel and Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border have increased since the war in Gaza began nearly six months ago.