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May 26, 2022 8:08 am

New York Times: Israel Killed Top IRGC Commander a Warning to Iran

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Mourners hold pictures of Colonel Sayad Khodai, a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, in Tehran, Iran, May 24, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS – Israeli officials were taken by surprise on Wednesday by a report in The New York Times alleging that Israel had informed Washington it was behind the assassination of a top Iranian officer earlier in the week.

An unnamed intelligence official told the Times that the hit was meant as a warning to Iran to halt the operations of Unit 840—a covert group within the Islamic Republic’s infamous black-ops arm, the Quds Force. According to the Israeli government, the IDF, and intelligence officials, Unit 840 is tasked with abductions and assassinations of foreigners around the world, including Israeli civilians and officials.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was reportedly shot five times by two men on a motorcycle in the heart of Tehran on Sunday. He was said to be involved in planning attacks against Israel, although according to other reports he was a logistics expert with a crucial role in the transportation of drone and missile technology to fighters in Syria and the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon.

Israeli officials were taken aback by the leak, which is considered quite rare within the context of the countries’ intimate strategic relationship, Channel 12 reported. Israeli officials were “unsure what motivated the Americans to leak the information” and were trying to understand the ramifications, according to report. The New York Times did not specify the nationality of the intelligence official.

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Israel rarely claims responsibility for any operation on foreign soil, as this makes it easier for the other party to demonstrate restraint. Israeli officials were reportedly concerned that the leak will augment Iran’s desire to retaliate.

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