DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A senior Syrian official has denied rebel claims that a Japanese journalist who died in the northern city of Aleppo this week was killed by government troops.

Veteran Japanese war correspondent Mika Yamamoto on Monday became the first foreign journalist to die in Aleppo since clashes between rebels and regime forces erupted there almost a month ago.

Rebels have said she was killed by regime forces. Japan’s Foreign Ministry said she was hit by gunfire while traveling with rebels from the Free Syrian Army.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad said Thursday that journalists who behave in an “irresponsible” way should expect all kinds of possibilities.

He says Yamamoto was killed by “armed groups” to frame the Syrian army.

Mekdad spoke to journalists in the Syrian capital.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.