Israel tried to avert Iranian response to embassy attack, Iranian Guards commander says

DUBAI (Reuters) -Israel sent messages to Tehran via Egypt that it would "compromise" in Gaza to try to avert an Iranian response to an attack in April on Iran's embassy compound in Syria, Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted a senior commander of the Revolutionary Guards as saying.

Tasnim, citing the head of the Guards' Aerospace Force, Amirali Hajizadeh, provided a detail what it said were efforts at the time by Israel to avert an escalation of hostilities after the Damascus attack.

In the event, Iran launched explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel in its first direct attack on Israeli territory. This was in retaliation for what it said was an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate, in which seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed.

Israel has not confirmed or denied it was responsible for the attack. Israeli officials have, however, described the site hit as a Revolutionary Guards office near the embassy rather than a part of the diplomatic mission.

"Israel sent messages through Egypt's foreign minister that it will compromise in the war in Gaza to avoid Iran's retaliation," Amirali Hajizadeh said.

Contacted by Reuters, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office did not immediately give a comment.

Israel launched the war on Hamas in Gaza after a deadly attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 by the Palestinian Islamist group. Netanyahu has repeatedly said the aim is to eliminate Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, and he has resisted calls from allies for restraint - for example in its current offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Egyptian officials were not immediately available for comment.

Describing Iran's action, which Israel has said caused only light damage, Hajizadeh was quoted by Tasnim as saying: "We had to use a great number of missiles and drones to get through Israel's Iron Dome, we used 20% of our military capability in the operation".

Israel' military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said at the time that Iran had launched dozens of ground-to-ground missiles at Israel, most of them intercepted outside Israeli borders by Israel and its allies. They included more than 10 cruise missiles, he said.

The salvo of more than 200 drones and missiles caused light damage to one Israeli military facility, Hagari said.

The embassy attack and Iranian response prompted deep concern around the world over a potential crisis amid already volatile regional tensions over the Gaza conflict.

(Reporting by Elwely Elwelly, Parisa Hafezi and Dan WilliamsEditing by Michael Georgy, Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)