Iran’s foreign ministry has apparently denied reports that a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander and three of his escorts were killed in a drone strike on their car near Iraq’s border with Syria.
“It seems to be fake news,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a press briefing on Tuesday in Tehran. He added that he was unaware of the reports regarding the drone strike and directed further questions to Iran’s military.
The commander was identified as Muslim Shahdan in some reports on Monday. Two Iraqi officials reportedly told Reuters that the commander’s vehicle was struck on Sunday, shortly after crossing into Syria from Iraq at Al Qaim with a load of weapons. There was no claim of responsibility for the alleged drone strike.
The reports came less than one week after Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated on Friday while his convoy of bullet-proof vehicles was driving to Absard, east of Tehran.
Accounts of the incident shifted sharply on Sunday, with the semi-official Fars news agency saying Fakhrizadeh was shot with a remotely operated machine gun. Previous reports indicated that the convoy was ambushed by a 12-person commando team, which was backed by a 50-person logistics group that infiltrated Iranian security services.
Iranian officials have blamed Israel for the killing of Fakhrizadeh, and state media reported on Sunday that the weapon used to kill the scientist was made in Israel.