Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

Israel is outraged by the American leak to the New York Times that said Israel is responsible for the assassination of senior Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) officer Hassan Sayyad Khodayari in Tehran, and fears that the publication will increase Iran’s motivation for revenge.

Khodayari was shot five times while sitting in a car in front of his house in Tehran on Sunday. The assailants fled on a motorcycle and are still at large.

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An unnamed intelligence official told The New York Times on Wednesday that Israeli officials stated that the Jewish state was behind the assassination, an effort to warn Tehran against the continued operation of Unit 840, which function is to serve as an assassination unit abroad.

Israeli media reported that Khodayari commanded terrorist squads whose purpose was to carry out the murder and abduction of Israelis abroad, which were thwarted by the Mossad.

Israeli Security sources said Israel would demand clarifications from Washington on the leak, which they said “cleansed” the US of involvement in the operation.

Israel’s defense establishment is closely monitoring Iran’s official threats for revenge.

Israel has stepped up alertness and security in all Jewish and Israeli institutions around the world following Iran’s threats to retaliate against Israel over the assassination.

Chief Commander of the IRGC Hossein Salami said on Monday that the IRGC will avenge the deaths of its members.

“No evil act by the enemy will be left unanswered,” and the revenge for Khodayari’s assassination “will be tough and make the perpetrators regretful,” he warned.

Israel has no reason to actually be surprised by the leak, as the US administration has regularly been leaking Israeli information to the US press, which might imply that Israeli informed the US knowing they would leak it.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.