Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard officer shot to death on doorstep of Tehran home
No claim of responsibility for killing of Qassem Fethallahi, a high-ranking member of an IRGC and Basij militia that has faced off with protesters
An Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps officer commanding a Tehran security phalanx was gunned down in front of his home Tuesday, a semi-official news site reported, as Iran marked the third anniversary of the assassination of shadowy general Qassem Soleimani.
Qassem Fethallahi was shot four times at the entrance to his home in an assault described as a “terror attack,” Iran’s Tasnim news site reported.
According to the outlet, which is closely linked with the IRGC, Fethallahi was an officer with the Mohammad Rasulullah Guards of Greater Tehran, a division of the IRGC which has merged with the Basij militia, a paramilitary volunteer branch of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.
Both the IRGC and Basij have had prominent roles in brutal crackdown on protests at the behest of the Iranian regime.
Fethallahi was a commander with the Tharallah headquarters, a central hub for the IRGC to direct security operations in and around the capital, according to Tasnim.
No group has taken responsibility for the killing.
The attack came amid months of anti-government demonstrations that have been violently suppressed by Iran’s security forces. The protests, now entering their fourth month, were sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. They have since escalated into calls for the downfall of Iran’s clerical rulers, posing one of the most serious challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the 1979 revolution.
أفاد وسائل إعلام إيرانية، بأن أحد أفراد الحرس الثوري قتل في إطلاق نار أمام منزله بالعاصمة #طهران.
وبحسب وكالة "تسنيم" للأنباء، فإن الضابط القتيل يدعى "قاسم فتح إللهي"، وهو قائد مقر "ثار الله".#السياق #إيران pic.twitter.com/VsCTgg0hdf
— السياق (@alsyaaq) January 3, 2023
A handful of Basij and IRGC members have been killed during the protests, and dozens have been put to death over the slayings. According to Amnesty International, Iran executed at least 314 people in 2021, more than half the total state executions recorded across the Middle East that year.
Fethallahi’s killing came at the tail end of a day that saw Iran hold several commemorations for Soleimani, with Iranian officials vowing to avenge his assassination.
Soleimani, 62, the head of the Quds Force of the IRGC, was killed on January 3, 2020, in an airstrike carried out by an American MQ-9 Reaper drone. He was struck while traveling from Baghdad’s international airport.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.