A senior member of the Revolutionary Guards was shot dead in front of his house in Tehran on Sunday. Colonel Sajjad Khodai was killed in an armed attack by two motorcyclists on a street in the Iranian capital, the Revolutionary Guards said on its website. They blamed the “terrorist” act on “elements linked to global arrogance” – a nod to the US and its allies, including Israel.
Khodai was a “defender of the sanctuary,” declared the Revolutionary Guards. This term is used for Iranians who are active on behalf of the state in Syria or Iraq. Iranian state television said Khodai was “known” in Syria, without giving any details. Iran is a key ally of ruler Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.
According to the official Irna news agency, Khodai was killed by five bullets on Sunday afternoon when he was returning home. Irna released photos showing a man slumped in the driver’s seat of a white car, with blood on his shirt collar and upper right arm.
A few hours before the attack on Khodai, the Revolutionary Guards announced that they had arrested a group of “criminals linked to the Zionist regime’s (Israel) secret service”. They were implicated in a range of crimes, including “robbery, kidnapping and vandalism.”
Khodai is the most prominent victim of an attack in Iran since the killing of leading nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrisadeh in November 2020. Tehran blamed Israel for the attack on Fakhrisadeh’s vehicle convoy near Tehran. It was later said that he was Deputy Secretary of Defense.
In January 2020, Iranian general Kassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq. Soleimani commanded the Al-Quds Brigades of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which are responsible for operations abroad.