- MIDDLE EAST FORUM - Seth J. Frantzman - THE JERUSALEM POST - MAY 22, 2022 -
The assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodayari is the latest humiliation for the Iranian regime and comes in the context of Tehran's increasing drone threats against Israel.
The officer, who reportedly served in Syria and was involved in planning attacks on Jews and Israelis worldwide, was killed outside his home. Graphic photos in Iranian media show his body slumped over in the front seat of his car. Within hours of the announcement, Iranian media claimed to have arrested "thugs related to the Zionist regime's intelligence service."
The killing comes eight months after details about the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh were published last September. In February, the BBC reported, "Israel's Mossad is suspected of high-level Iran penetration."
In late April, foreign reports emerged that an IRGC official named Mansour Rasouli was nabbed and interrogated by the Mossad in the Islamic Republic. Also in late April, it was reported that the Mossad had prevented an Iranian plot to target Israelis in Turkey. There was also a plot revealed last October that showed Iran trying to target an Israeli businessman in Cyprus.
There have also been numerous Iranian threats to Israel in the last several years involving drones. Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned about Iranian drone bases last November. Tehran has tried to send drones to Venezuela. It opened a drone factory in Tajikistan, and in February, two Iranian drones were intercepted over Iraq by the US-led coalition. Those drones were headed for Israel. This comes after Iran used a drone in May 2021 to target the Jewish state, after Israel used F-35s to shoot down Iranian drones the previous March.
Meanwhile, there are increased tensions with Hezbollah after it used a drone to try to penetrate Israeli airspace this month, and after Hezbollah claimed it flew a drone into Israeli airspace in February. Furthermore, Israel's recent Chariots of Fire drill was the largest in decades and appears to be part of preparations for potential conflict with Iran and its proxies.
Iran has also been busy, threatening the US and Israel from bases in Syria and Iraq, as well as targeting the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The attack on Erbil in mid-March was reportedly a message aimed at Jerusalem, with Tehran claiming it had zeroed in on Israeli targets.
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