Unidentified gunmen on a motorbike have killed a senior member of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard outside his home in Tehran.
The corps gave only scant detail about the killing, which occurred in broad daylight in the heart of the Iranian capital, but blamed it on “global arrogance” – typically code for the US and Israel.
The accusation and the style of the attack raised the possibility of a link with other motorbike killings previously attributed to Israel, such as those targeting the country’s nuclear scientists.
Two assailants shot Col Hassan Sayad Khodayari five times in his unarmoured Iranian-made vehicle just off a highly secure street that is home to Iran’s parliament, state media said.
Reports identified Khodayari only as a “defender of the shrine,” a reference to fighters against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq from the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds force that oversees foreign operations.
Little information was publicly available about Khodayari, but Quds officers tend to carry out secretive military missions supporting Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party, and militias in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
The Tehran prosecutor arrived at the crime scene within hours to investigate and demanded police urgently arrest the perpetrators. The speed of the developments suggests Khodayari may have been a prominent Quds figure.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. State TV reported that security forces were pursuing the suspected assailants without offering further details or giving a motive for the killing.
State-run media also said around the same time that the Revolutionary Guard’s security forces had uncovered and arrested members of an Israeli intelligence network operating in the country.