A senior member of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard was killed outside his home in Tehran on Sunday by unidentified gunmen on a motorbike, state TV reported.
Although the Guard gave only scant detail about the attack that occurred in broad daylight in the heart of Iran's capital, the group blamed the killing on “global arrogance,” typically code for the United States and Israel.
That accusation, as well as the style of the brazen attack, raised the possibility of a link with other motorbike slayings previously attributed to Israel in Iran, such as those targeting the country's nuclear scientists.
The two assailants shot Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari five times in his unarmored Iranian-made Kia Pride, state media said, right off a highly secure street home to Iran's parliament.
Reports identified Khodayari only as a “defender of the shrine,” a reference to Iranians who fight against the extremist Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq within the Guard’s elite Quds force that oversees foreign operations.
Little information was publicly available about Khodayari, as Quds officers tend to be shadowy figures carrying out secretive military missions supporting Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party, and other militias in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
The Tehran prosecutor arrived at the crime scene within hours of the killing to investigate and demanded police urgently arrest the perpetrators. The probe’s speed suggested Khodayari's prominence in the murky structure of the Guard’s overseas operations.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Security forces were pursuing the suspected assailants, state TV reported, without offering further details or giving a motive for the killing.
Around the same time, state-run media said the Revolutionary Guard's security forces had uncovered and arrested members of an Israeli intelligence network operating in the country, without elaborating on whether they had any connection to Khodayari's slaying.
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