The leading operative affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been assassinated outside his residence in Tehran, the Iranian state media reported Sunday.
Iranian news reports confirm that two gunmen killed Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, who had links to IRGC’s Quds Force — the group’s foreign terrorist arm, in a heavily guarded area in central Tehran.
While the Iranian authorities did not disclose what position Khodaei occupied in the Quds Force’s hierarchy, the regime’s response to his killing suggests he played a ‘prominent’ role in the terrorist organization with a global reach, the Associated Press and other news outlets noted.
The Times of Israel‘s military correspondent Emanuel Fabian revealed that the slain Quds Force operative was involved in several terrorist attacks on Israeli and Jews across the world.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed to avenge the killing of regime’s senior terror operative.
“I insist on the serious pursuit [of the killers] by security officials, and I have no doubt that the blood of this great martyr will be avenged,” Raisi declared on Monday. “There is no doubt that the hand of global arrogance [a reference to the U.S. and Israel] can be seen in this crime.”
The Associated Press reported the IRGC optative’s killing:
A senior member of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard was killed outside his home in Tehran on Sunday by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike, state TV reported.
Although the Guard gave only scant detail about the attack that occurred in broad daylight in the heart of Iran’s capital, the group blamed the killing on “global arrogance,” typically code for the United States and Israel.
That accusation, as well as the style of the brazen killing, raised the possibility of a link with other motorbike slayings previously attributed to Israel in Iran, such as those targeting the country’s nuclear scientists. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The two assailants shot Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei five times in his unarmored Iranian-made Kia Pride, state media said, right off a highly secure street home to Iran’s parliament. (…)
Little information was publicly available about Khodaei, as Quds officers tend to be shadowy figures carrying out secretive military missions supporting Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, and other militias in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
The Tehran prosecutor arrived at the crime scene within hours of the killing to investigate and demanded police urgently arrest the perpetrators. The probe’s speed suggested Khodaei’s prominence in the murky structure of the Guard’s overseas operations.
Khodaei’s killing took place just days after Israel’s national security agency Shin Bet foiled a major Iranian plot to kidnap noted Israeli academics, business men and former defense officials. The Iranian operatives tried to lure prominent Israelis to Europe and elsewhere “in an effort to kidnap or otherwise harm them,” The Times of Israel reported Thursday citing Shin Bet.
In late April, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad thwarted another Iranian plot aimed at killing multiple high-profile targets, including an Israeli diplomat based in Turkey and a U.S. general stationed in Germany.
Sunday’s killing of a senior Quds Force member comes amid repeated Iranian threats to avenge the assignation of Qassem Soleimani which took place two years ago. Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s president, and top military officials have repeatedly threatened to harm former U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration over the killing.
Soleimani, who was chief of the IRGC’s Quds Force, died in a 2020 drone strike ordered by President Trump. Following the operation, the Pentagon disclosed that the drone strike was a “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel,” as Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”