IRGC Colonel Assassinated in Tehran, Mossad Suspected of Being Behind Hit

Iran’s official news agency reported Sunday afternoon that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari was assassinated in Tehran by assailants on a motorcycle.

Citing IRIB news agency, Press TV reported Khodayari was shot three times in the head and twice in the hand while exiting his vehicle in front of his east Tehran residence.

Following the assassination, the IRGC’s public relations department issued a statement confirming the “martyrdom” of Khodayari, adding that he was a defender of the shrine, a common term used for fighters associated with the Iranian military who have operated in Syria. Furthermore, the statement blamed Khodayari’s killing on “counter-revolutionaries” affiliated with “global arrogance.”

Later, Iran’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying “the sworn enemies of the sacred establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again revealed their evil nature through the assassination and martyrdom of an IRGC member.”

Citing an anonymous source, Israeli news outlets reported Khodayari was behind a series of plots against Israelis around the world. He is also suspected of orchestrating an assassination attempt against an Israeli consulate employee in Turkey.

Khodayari was also an aide to former Quds Force chief, General Qasem Soleimani, according to a report by The Times.

The killing of Khodayari is characteristic of previous assassinations in Iran attributed to Israel’s Mossad.

On Aug. 7, 2021, a tweet by Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported that an “Arabic-speaking father and daughter” were shot and killed in their vehicle on Pasadran street in Tehran. It was later reported by The New York Times the pair were Al-Qaeda’s Abu Muhammad al-Masri and his daughter Maryam al-Masri, the widow of Hamza bin-Laden, the son of former Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Their killing was reportedly in response to planned attacks against “Israeli and Jewish targets.”

The near simultaneous reports from several Israeli media outlets about Khodayari’s activities hours after his killing raises some suspicion about Israel’s involvement. On previous occasions, Israeli officials have leaked detailed information on high-profile attacks to news organizations as a way to get a message to Iran.

At this time, there have been no official claims of responsibility for the killing of Khodayari.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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