Iranian Colonel Assassinated In Tehran Planned Kidnappings And Other Attacks On Israelis And Jews Worldwide

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NEW YORK (VINnews) — A senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was killed in Tehran on Sunday had planned kidnappings and other attempts to attack Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide, according to unsourced reports in Hebrew media.

Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari was shot five times by two unidentified gunmen in his car in the middle of Tehran, earlier Sunday, according to Iranian state media. Eyewitnesses said that the gunmen blocked the road with a car with an open baggage compartment and shot Khodayari near his home, a street considered to be secure against intruders.

Reports identified Khodayari as a “defender of the shrine”, a reference to Iranians who carry out Tehran’s covert operations in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State as part of the Guard’s elite Quds Force that oversees operations abroad.

Although the Guard gave few details about the attack that occurred in broad daylight in the heart of Iran’s capital, the group blamed the killing on “global arrogance,” typically a code for the United States and Israel.

An Iranian official quoted by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera warned that the assassination constitutes “a crossing of the red line,” and that those responsible “will pay a heavy price.”

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi said after the assassination that “I have no doubt that the revenge of the pure blood of this shahid is inevitable.” Iranian anger over the attack was so strong that Tehran’s chief justice urged the chief prosecutor to arrive at the scene immediately and start investigating the assassination.

The nature of the attack, performed on motorcycles in broad daylight, 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. If suspicions regarding Israeli involvement in the attack are true, it would pose a new level of action by the Jewish state against Iran, as Khodayari was not involved in any way in its nuclear program, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Israel has remained silent on the matter of the Khodayari assassination. Defense Minister Gantz, currently in New York City, refused to comment on the matter, stating that “the State of Israel is very strong. I’m not addressing all the various reports that appear in all sorts of places.”

Former Defense Minister Moshe (Boogy) Ya’alon described the assassination as “successful” and said “I don’t know who was behind this elimination, but they did a good job. Iran is the central cause of instability in the Middle East, and Israel finds itself in a situation of “If I’m not for myself, who is for me.”

Little information was publicly available about Khodayari, but Israeli new sources say that one of the operatives under Khodayari’s supervision was Mansour Rasouli.

In April, it was reported that Rasouli, said to be a member of the IRGC, admitted to Mossad agents during an interrogation at his home in Iran that he was sent to target an Israeli diplomat in Turkey, as well as an American general stationed in Germany and a journalist in France.

Channel 12 reported that Khodayari was also behind an attempt — recently uncovered by the Shin Bet — by Iranian operatives to lure Israeli academics, businesspeople, and former defense officials abroad and possibly kidnap them.

That report also said he was behind an alleged plot to kill five Israelis in Cyprus.

Channel 12 also said that Khodayari had recently returned from Syria, where he served under former commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force and celebrated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who himself was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq in January 2020.

An Iranian security source was quoted as saying he also played an “important” role in Iran’s military industry, “especially when it came to drones.” Iran has attempted to send drones to perform surveillance missions against Israel on a number of previous occasions.

The long-running shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent months, with more direct attacks attributed to Israel against Iranian targets in Syria and mutual cyberattacks carried out by both nations, threatening to bring the regional rivals to the brink of direct warfare.

 


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