Assassination of Revolutionary Guards Officer Is New Phase in Iran-Israel Shadow War

Israel updated the travel warning for its citizens visiting Turkey after the threat of retaliatory attacks from Iran in the wake of the killing of a top colonel, in what some analysts say is an escalation of the simmering conflict between the two countries.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement on Monday saying that the Israeli security establishment possesses intelligence of a “tangible threat to Israelis in Turkey. There is also a higher threat level in additional countries bordering Iran.”

This announcement came a week after the execution of Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari, an officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who was shot five times by unidentified gunmen on a residential street in Tehran.

The head of the IRGC, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, accused Israel of being responsible for the assassination.

“The martyrs who are murdered by the Zionists are of a much higher status. God willing, we will take revenge against the enemies,” Salami said Monday while eulogizing Khodayari during a visit to the killed man’s family.

Accusations of Israel’s responsibility were corroborated by a New York Times report in the wake of the assassination, which leaked information from an unnamed American official, claiming that Israel had informed the US that it carried out the killing.

Now it appears that Israel fears reprisals by Iran. However, according to Dr. Tugba Bayar, instructor in International Relations at Bilkent University in Turkey, Iranian retaliatory measures rarely measure up to its strong rhetoric.

“Iran’s rhetoric is always quite offensive. It calls ‘Death to America,’ ‘Death to Israel’ and swears for revenge, as it did after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, and several nuclear scientists,” she explained.

“Yet, the only time we saw Iran in action was when it attacked some targets in Iraq calling them Israeli spy centers,” she added. “I do not believe that Iran would target civilians, neither in Turkey nor somewhere else.

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