The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps has confirmed that Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei has been assassinated in Tehran today. He was shot by two assailants on a motorcycle who fired 5 bullets outside Khodaei’s residence on Mojahedin Eslam Street in Tehran. The shooting happened at approximately 1800 local Tehran time.
Colonel Khodaei was announced dead on the scene by emergency personnel and no others have been injured or killed. By special order of the Chief Justice of Tehran Province, the special prosecutor was dispatched to identify the attackers and designate the area a crime scene against the state.
Israeli media immediately picked up on the story and ran several pieces describing Colonel Khodaei as an important figure within the Quds Force, charged with smuggling precision weapons to Hezbollah. The Colonel has also been attributed to several planning documents reportedly giving order to assassinate Israelis worldwide, including the assassination attempt on the Israeli consul in Istanbul, Turkey. He was also awarded for his combat in Syria, serving alongside Assad Regime troops.
With his killing, there is an open path for President Raisi to martyr the Colonel and rally Iranian anger outwards towards Israel and the United States, who are on the list of suspects, in the midst of social strife in Western Iran over food and water shortages.
The Quds Force is one of five branches of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations. U.S. Army’s Iraq War General Stanley McChrystal describes the Quds Force as an organization analogous to a combination of the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the United States. Responsible for extraterritorial operations, the Quds Force supports non-state actors in many countries, including Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Yemeni Houthis, and Shia militias in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.