IRGC warns Israel attacks ‘won’t go unanswered’ as Iran marks Al-Quds Day

Representatives of Iran’s ‘axis of resistance’ and political and religious leaders participated in Al-Quds Day amid Gaza war.

People attend the funeral procession for seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members killed in a strike in Syria, in Tehran, Iran, on April 5, 2024 [Atta Kenare/AFP]

Iran is marking Al-Quds Day with rallies across the country as the commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) promised retaliation after Israeli strikes on Iran’s consulate in Syria.

The Israeli air strikes in Damascus killed 13 people, including seven IRGC members – among them two generals leading the Corps’ Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon.

“We warn that no action by any enemy concerning our holy establishment [the Islamic Republic] will go unanswered,” Hossein Salami told a state-organised gathering of thousands in the capital Tehran on Friday to chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel”.


He said Israel is facing nothing but “defeat” in its war on Gaza regardless of whether it keeps attacking or retreats, adding that messages coming from Palestinian fighters in the enclave say “we will bury the Zionist regime in Gaza”.

“The Zionists and their American backers believe that the more they kill Muslims and besiege and displace them, the better their lives will be, but the reality is the exact opposite.”

State television showed top government, judiciary and military officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi and Quds Force leader Esmail Qaani, walking among demonstrators in Tehran and cities across the country.


Sombre mood after Iran, Syria attacks

Many of the rallies were marked by heavy losses suffered by Iranian armed forces in the past week.

In central Tehran, there was a large funeral procession for IRGC members killed in Syria, shortly after their bodies were returned to Iran and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over them – as he did for Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020.

Translation: Aerial footage of the Al-Quds Day march in Tehran

In the city of Zahedan, the capital of the southeastern border province of Sistan-Baluchestan, along with Yazd in central Iran, uniformed armed forces carried the bodies of those killed in “terrorist” attacks on Thursday as thousands of demonstrators followed.


Teams of armed men from the separatist Sunni group Jaish al-Adl – which Iran accuses of being backed by foreign powers – attacked two IRGC bases in the cities of Chabahar and Rask in the province, killing at least 11 members of armed forces and leaving several civilians seriously wounded.

All the gunmen, believed to be 19 foreign nationals, were killed and the civilian hostages they had taken were rescued, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Al-Quds Day protesters also expressed solidarity with besieged Palestinians, more than 33,000 of whom have been killed by the Israeli military since the October 7 attacks on Israel.


In Kerman – where Soleimani was from and where a twin bombing attack in January killed nearly 100 people – thousands were joined by local officials in the streets.

Meanwhile, in Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, state television showed women carrying small white shrouds over their heads in solidarity with mothers in Gaza, who are losing their children to bombs or Israeli-imposed starvation and famine.

Showcasing the ‘axis of resistance’

Al-Quds Day was established by Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, shortly after the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution, effectively putting the issue of Palestine – and standing up to Israel and its allies – at the core of the theocracy that replaced a Western-backed monarchy.

Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, with the annual rallies also meant to cement a call for resistance against the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel. Through its Quds Force, Iran has for more than four decades strengthened its “axis of resistance” coalition that includes political and armed groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied West Bank to observe Friday prayers as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.

Iranian state television also aired live footage of Al-Quds Day demonstrations being held in Kashmir and India’s Kargil, and showed how Ayatollah Isa Qassim, Bahrain’s leading Shia cleric and politician, took part in a rally in the Shia holy city of Qom, south of Tehran.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who had last week met with the Iranian supreme leader and other top leadership in Tehran, was seen taking part in demonstrations in the capital on Friday, next to Abdul Aziz al-Muhammadawi, the chief of staff of Iraq’s Shia-led Popular Mobilisation Forces.

Source: Al Jazeera