A high-ranking Iranian military official advising Iraqi troops was killed by an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria sniper in Central Iraq Saturday.
Brigadier General Hamid Taqavi, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was declared “martyred” by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard while serving in the battleground city of Samarra, The Long War Journal reports.
The Quds Force is the Revolutionary Guard’s special forces unit and has been heavily involved in the Syrian Civil War and the fight against ISIS. They are designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. government.
Iran is heavily invested in defeating ISIS in Iraq and has provided significant levels of support to both the Iraqi army and Shiite militias locked in combat with the Sunni radicals. The supreme commander of the Quds Force has even been spotted helping Iraqi military operations in the area.
Samarra is a key strategic city in Iraq and is essential to controlling the northern belt of Baghdad — giving ISIS an staging ground to lay siege to the capital. The city also contains one of the holiest shrines in all of Shiite Islam, giving Iran another reason to pay attention to its defense.
This isn’t the first Quds casualty fighting ISIS in Iraq as a Quds commando was killed in June during operations against the extremist group.