https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dg7xk/iran-colonel-assassinated-sayyad-khodaei-revolutionary-guards

A senior colonel in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps was shot dead Sunday by gunmen riding motorbikes, with the country’s media pointing the finger at Israel for the attack.

Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was sitting in his car when he was shot five times by two gunmen in front of his house in the east of Iran’s capital. 

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a branch within the Iranian military famous for its involvement in covert overseas operations through their elite Quds forces. 

Iranian security forces have launched a manhunt for the perpetrators. President Ebrahim Raisi has vowed revenge and blamed the death of Khodaei on the “hand of global arrogance”, a term used by the Iranian regime to refer to the US and its allies in the region, specifically Israel.

No country or group has claimed responsibility for Khodaei’s assassination. Iranian media has started to speculate that Israel was behind the attack carried out by two gunmen on a motorbike in broad daylight at 4PM.

Khodaei’s death is the first high-profile assassination in Iran since leading nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead in November 2020. Iran then blamed Israel for the attack, but the government in Tel Aviv denied any involvement.

Iranian media put out photos of the incident that showed an Iranian-made Kia Pride with broken passenger windows. Officials said Khodaei was shot three times in the head and two bullets hit his hands before he died of his wounds on Sunday.   

Ramazan Sharif, the IRGC spokesman, said on Monday the death of Khodaei will “only strengthen the determination of the elite corps to confront the enemies of the Iranian nation,” the semi-state-run Mehr news agency reported.

Khodaei was described by IRGC-affiliated media outlets as” a defender of the shrine,” a term used for Iranians fighting alongside Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and those involved in the fight against ISIS in Iraq with Shia militias.

The elite forces of the IRGC have enjoyed a run of victories after helping the Assad family survive a decade of civil war and growing the role of Iraqi militias in the fight against ISIS.

Israeli media on Monday described the death of Khodaei as a blow to the groups planning to attack “Jews and Israelis” around the world.

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