The Quds Force member was shot five times outside his home in Tehran
Sayyad Khodaei, a colonel in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite foreign operations squad, the Quds Force, has been shot dead by a pair of motorcycle-mounted assassins outside his home in Tehran, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.
Khodaei was shot five times while sitting in his car in broad daylight on Mojahedin-e Eslam Street, which is considered a secure area and located near the Iranian parliament. His body was discovered by his wife, and the Tehran prosecutor quickly appeared on the scene to call for a thorough and rapid police investigation.
The IRGC decried Khodaei's murder as a "terrorist act" and blamed "elements linked to global arrogance" for the crime, a reference to the US, Israel and their allies. He was described as a "defender of the shrines," meaning he fought with the Quds Force in Syria and Iraq.
"The sworn enemies of the holy system of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again showed their evil nature with the assassination and martyrdom of one of the members of the IRGC troops," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said following the announcement of Khodaei's killing.
No one had claimed responsibility for the attack as of Sunday night, and the motive for the slaying is not known. It was the most high-profile killing in Tehran since the murder of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in 2020. Earlier that same year, Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani was assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad Airport that also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.
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While the IRGC and Ministry of Intelligence reportedly arrested members of an Israeli intelligence network on Sunday, releasing a statement claiming the agents "attempted to steal and destroy personal and public property, kidnap and obtain fake confessions through a network of thugs," no evidence has been produced linking the two incidents. Israel has refused to comment on either matter.