In Iran, Colonel Sayyad Khodai, a member of the Islamic Republic’s Quds force, was surprisingly and mysteriously killed by two men near his home this week using silencers while riding on motorcycles. His death sparked outrage by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its radical Shiite supporters, who gathered around the coffin of the dead colonel in a funeral procession in Tehran.
In the aftermath of Khodai’s death, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed the United States and its allies for allowing such actions to be committed. Members of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) immediately began blaming Mossad and the Israeli government for engaging in what they described as “terrorism” and vowed to avenge the fallen official.
The New York Times first reported Wednesday that according to “an intelligence official briefed on the communications, Israel has informed American officials that it was behind the killing.”
A source, who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, said Israel informed the U.S. that this assassination was meant to send a warning to Tehran to suspend the activity of Unit 840, a secret group within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’-Quds Force (IRGC-QF). Unit 840 has been known by many with abductions and assassinations of foreigners around the world including Israel and U.S. civilians and officials.
According to Israeli media outlets, Israeli intelligence officials are surprised but also angry about the leak. Israel and the U.S. have always shared intelligence reports and cooperated in covert counterterrorist actions, but the recent leak by American officials has caused great concern for the Jewish state.
This is not the first time American officials leaked Israeli intelligence or military actions. During the Obama administration, then Israeli-Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu told President Obama that Israel was planning on striking Iran’s nuclear facility, prompting the President to leak Israel’s actions to national media outlets.
The spokesperson for the IRGC stated that the killing of Khodai would strengthen the group’s determination to defend Iran and confront the enemies of the nation.
The Islamic Republic has called on the United Nations and the world to condemn what they describe as a “cowardly” act and urged the international organization to denounce such actions as “terrorism.” As is the custom when an IRGC officer is assassinated, the regime claimed Khodai a “martyr” who deserves nothing but praise and recognition from all Muslims.
The death of another top Iranian official draws attention to Israel’s track record of successful covert operations against the Islamic Republic for the past several years.
Ever since the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) became a dominant force in the Middle East and supported various terrorist groups against Israel like Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Israel has engaged in secret military operations, resulting in the deaths of IRGC officials and top-level nuclear scientists like Iran’s shadowy nuclear program chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
With continued fear that Iran’s regime is strengthening its weapons program and as the threats become bolder and clearer with Israel as the intended target, Israeli officials have conducted targeted assassinations and attacks on the regime’s assets, both in Syria and in Iran.
This comes as ordinary Iranians continue to protest all throughout different provinces, calling for the overthrow of the regime and advocating for basic freedoms and human rights. The Islamic Republic has responded to the protesters by deploying the IRGC’s security forces to arrest Iranians and brutally suppress protesters using live ammunition. The Islamic Republic of Iran has accused these protesters of being “Zionist spies” and has accused Israel of fomenting the chaos.