Assassins on motorcycles gunned down a key member of Iran’s elite Quds force who had planned attacks on Israelis in a brazen hit Sunday afternoon in Tehran.
Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari, who was known to work in Syria on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards unit, was involved in planning attacks on Jews and Israelis around the world, The Jerusalem Post reported. He was shot dead in front of his home on Mojahedin Eslam Street by assailants who fled, according to Iranian reports.
“BIG: Iranian IRGC Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari has been shot 5 times and killed in Tehran by two people on motorcycle,” tweeted TV 9 Middle East correspondent Aditya Raj Kaul.
The IRGC branded the assassination a “criminal terrorist act of the counter-revolution and elements related to global arrogance.” While they did not point the finger directly at Israel, the modus operandi fits that of Israel’s legendary Mossad, noted Iranian journalist Hossein Dalirian.
— Bryan E. Leib (@Bryan_E_Leib) May 22, 2022
Photos on social media appeared to show Khodayari’s body slumped over the steering wheel of his car. Some reports claimed that Iran had arrested the assailants, although that could not be confirmed. The Jerusalem Post reported that hours after the assassination, the IRGC claimed that it had arrested a “network of thugs” linked to the Mossad.
Reports in Iran identified Khodayari as a “defender of the sanctuary,” which the Times of Israel said refers to Iranians who carry out operations in Syria and Iraq within the Guard’s elite Quds Force.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz refused to comment when asked about the assassination by an television station in Israel.
Iranian news outlet Jadeh Iran reported that Khodayari was a key figure in the country’s military industry and was involved with its drone program. In March, the IRGC fired missiles at a site in Erbil, Iraq which they said was used by the Mossad. The attack was reportedly in retaliation for an Israeli strike on an IRGC drone base in Mahidasht, Iran.
Iranian military operatives who lead attacks against Israel have a way of ending up dead on the streets of Tehran. In November of 2020, the nation’s chief military nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was gunned down in Tehran, The Jerusalem Post noted. The Jewish Chronicle said he was killed with a “one-ton remote-controlled gun” smuggled into the country in pieces by the Mossad, using a secret team of more than 20 Israeli and Iranian nationals.