Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
(photo credit: KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)
Colonel Hassan Akbari, an officer in the bodyguard unit of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed during a training mission, the Iranian news agency Fars reported Saturday.
According to the report, Akbari, a member of Khamenei’s safeguarding unit, a part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was killed due to a "technical fault" in his weapon during a training mission he took part in.
The Iranian news agency did not mention in its report where he was killed, however sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition said that Akbari was killed in Syria while visiting the Aleppo battlefield to prepare a comprehensive report about the fighting for Khamenei.
Syrian opposition activists praised Akbari's death, claiming that he was run over by rebels in Aleppo's outskirts.
The Public Relations Office of Iran's Revolutionary Guards sent condolences to Khamenei, which indicates that Akbari was part of the upper echelon safeguarding the Supreme Leader.
Khamenei's bodyguard unit includes about 10,000 people, while only two senior officers among them, who have been working in the unit for 30 years, are his private bodyguards. These two are the members who are authorized to enter Khamenei's room and safeguard it 24 hours a day.