By World Israel News Staff
The senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Core (IRGC) who was assassinated on Sunday in Tehran was the mastermind behind plots to murder Jews and Israelis around the world, Hebrew-language media reported.
Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was shot to death by unknown assailants on motorbikes who ambushed him outside of his home in central Tehran.
Channel 12 News reported that Khodaei was the planner of a foiled attack to murder five Israelis in Cyprus.
He was also the driving force behind a recently thwarted attempt to lure prominent Israelis, including former security officials, academics and businesspeople, in order to facilitate their kidnapping.
Iranian media reports described Khodaei as a “defender of the sanctuary,” which means that he was a member of the elite Quds branch of the IRGC that carries out attacks and intelligence-gathering missions outside of Iran.
While the IRGC and Iranian government have pledged to avenge Khodaei’s killing, they have not formally acknowledged or named who they believe was behind the slaying.
Due to the similarity with other assassinations on Iranian soil, particularly of its nuclear scientists, many speculate that Israel and the Mossad security agency are responsible for the shooting.
“I demand the serious pursuit [of the assassins] by security officials, and I have no doubt that the blood of this great martyr will be avenged,” Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi said in a press statement on Monday morning.
“There is no doubt that the hand of global arrogance can be seen in this crime,” he added. The term “global arrogance” typically refers to Western powers, including the United States, and its allies, such as Israel.
“This is not the first time that assassination has taken place in Tehran,” Abas Aslani, a Tehran-based analyst at the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies, told Al Jazeera.
“There have been examples in the past. And most of the time the Israelis and Americans have been at fault.”