Two more top Iranian officials have been killed this week in separate mysterious incidents, just days after a top Iranian commander was gunned down outside his home and an Iranian drone manufacturing site came under attack by suicide drones.
Colonel Ali Esmailzadeh of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force reportedly died during an incident at his residence in the city of Karaj.
Iranian media said that he died after falling from his roof. Opponents of the Islamic Republic, however, claimed that Esmailzadeh was killed by the state because they suspected him of being a spy involved in the death of Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodayari, who was gunned down in front of his home by operatives on a motorcycle.
“The report said that after Khodaei’s killing, the IRGC began hunting for security leaks and became suspicious of Esmailzadeh,” The Times of Israel reported. “He was then thrown from his roof, but the IRGC told his family he died by suicide because he was distraught over his separation from his wife, Iran International said, citing ‘sources in Iran.'”
Khodaei planned “abductions and assassinations” on Jews around the world as part of the military operations of a Quds Force group known as Unit 840. Israel reportedly told U.S. officials that killing Khodaei was a message to Iran to cease its covert operations targeting its citizens.
The news of Esmailzadeh and Khodaei’s deaths come as a prominent Iranian aerospace engineer, Dr. Ayoob Entezari, who worked on Iran’s drone program, was reportedly found dead of suspected food poisoning.
The deaths of the three Iranian officials also come after suicide drones attacked a “highly sensitive military site” deep inside Iran this week where the country develops its most advanced military technology.
The Parchin military complex — which develops missile, nuclear, and drone technology outside Iran’s capital city of Tehran — was reportedly hit on Wednesday by suicide drones. Due to the type of drones that were used in the attack, Iranian officials indicated that the drones had to have been launched near the military site.
Iranian officials confirmed the attack to The New York Times, as did a U.S. intelligence official. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.
“In recent years, Iran has steadily advanced in its design and production of drones and transfer of drone technology and parts to proxy militias across the Middle East,” the Times reported. “Iranian drones have been deployed in numerous attacks against Israel, as well as in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and, last October, a U.S. base in Syria.”
Israel is reportedly investing serious resources into countering the threats posed by enemy drones in the region. Israel reportedly used drones earlier this year to attack a manufacturing plant in Iran that was used to develop and store Iran’s military drones.