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Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer shot dead outside his home in Tehran

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An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer who commanded a Tehran security phalanx was shot dead outside his home on Tuesday, a semi-official news website reported, as Iran marked the third anniversary of the assassination of the grim general Qassem. Soleimani.

Qassem Fethalllahi was shot four times at the entrance to his home in an attack described as a “terrorist attack”, Iran’s Tasnim news website reported.

According to the agency, which is closely linked to the IRGC, Fethallahi was an officer in Greater Tehran’s Mohammad Rasulullah Guard, a division of the IRGC that merged with the Basij militia, a volunteer paramilitary branch of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

Both the IRGC and the Basij played prominent roles in the brutal crackdown on protests at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Fethallahi was a commander at Tharallah headquarters, a central IRGC center for directing security operations in and around the capital, according to Tasnim.

No group claimed responsibility for the murder.

The attack came amid months of anti-government demonstrations that have been violently suppressed by Iranian security forces. The protests, now entering their fourth month, were sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. They have since turned 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.

A handful of Basij and IRGC members were killed during the protests, and dozens were sentenced to death for the killings. According to Amnesty International, Iran executed at least 314 people in 2021, more than half of the total state executions recorded in the Middle East that year.

Fethallahi’s assassination came at the end of a day in which Iran held several commemorations for Soleimani, with Iranian officials vowing to avenge his assassination.

Soleimani, 62, head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, was killed on January 3, 2020, in an airstrike carried out by an American MQ-9 Reaper drone. He was hit while traveling from Baghdad International Airport.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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