Mohsen Hojaji

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Mohsen Hojaji
Death of Mohsen Hojaji.png
The photo that made Hojaji famous. He stoically looks at the camera while an "anxious" ISIS executioner is holding him with a knife at hand with black smoke rising from the overtaken camp.[1]
Native name
محسن حججی
Born(1991-07-12)12 July 1991
Najafabad, Isfahan Province, Iran
Died9 August 2017(2017-08-09) (aged 26)[2]
Al Waleed border crossing, Syria
Buried
Najafabad, Isfahan Province, Iran
AllegianceIran
Service/branchIslamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of serviceUnknown–2017
RankThird lieutenant
Unit8th Najaf Ashraf Armored Division
Battles/warsSyrian Civil War Executed
Spouse(s)Zahra Abbasi[1]
Children1 son

Mohsen Hojaji (12 July 1991 – 9 August 2017) was an Iranian military officer. He served as an IRGC adviser to the pro-government forces in Syria during the Syrian Civil War. He was captured by ISIS forces near al-Tanf in southeast Syria, and was beheaded two days later. ISIS published a video of his capture, a picture of which went viral among Iranians in social media. The publicized captivity and his following death received widespread reaction among the Iranian people, government, and military.

Death[edit]

Mohsen Hojaji was an IRGC member operating in Syria as part of an advisory team to the pro-government forces during the Syrian Civil War.[3]

On 7 August 2017, ISIS led a surprise attack near al-Tanf,[3] Syria near the Syrian-Iraqi border against a pro-government outpost comprising IRGC military advisers, including Hojaji. After two hours of fighting, a suicide ISIS operative infiltrates and leaves a number of people killed. Hojaji himself was wounded at his side and the right arm, according to the commander of his division, and was taken as captive after being surrounded by ISIS members.[4][1][5] ISIS published a video of the attack and the capture of Hojaji.[1][5] Hojaji was beheaded two days later.[6]

Reactions[edit]

A picture of the second video went viral in social media. It shows an ISIS fighter with a knife at hand holding Hojaji, who is dressed in military uniform and gazing at the camera, with black smoke rising from the overtaken camp. Many compared the expressions of the ISIL soldier, who looks "anxious", with that of Hojaji.[1]

Hojaji's captivity and ensuing death received widespread reaction among people and government of Iran, including senior figures and IRGC commanders, such as Hassan Rouhani's vice president, commander of IRGC Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC Ground Forces, Mohammad Pakpour, head of Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, who sent a message to Hajaji's wife and son,[1][7] and the Iranian Army.[8] Many Iranian celebrities, artists, and sports people also reacted to the incident,[9] such as the footballer Mehdi Taremi,[10] singer and musician Alireza Assar,[11] and Rambod Javan.[9] Reactions from outside Iran include Syrian ambassador to Iran Adnan Hassan Mahmoud[12] and Iraqi cleric and politician Ammar al-Hakim.[12]

Hojaji's funeral in Isfahan

In a statement issued on August 31, the public relations department of the IRGC Ground Force said a DNA test confirmed the identity of the body delivered to the Lebanese Hezbollah earlier in the day as Mohsen Hojaji.[13] Hezbollah received the body of Hojaji from Daesh based on a ceasefire deal between the two sides.[14] The transfer of Lebanon's captured soldiers and two martyrs, as well as the body of Hojaji, took place after the buses carrying Daesh militants and their families arrived in the ancient city of Palmyra in Homs.[13]

A funeral procession was held for Hojaji in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on September 27, 2017. Thousands of people took to the streets for his funeral.[15] The funeral began from the Imam Hussein square in downtown Tehran. Ali Khamenei prayed over Hojaji's casket and spoke to his family, praising their fortitude.[16] Many Iranian artists memorialized his death in videos and paintings.[17][18]

Following the funeral procession, Hojaji was laid to rest on September 28, 2017. He was buried in his hometown of Najaf Abad in Isfahan Province in central Iran.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Beheading of IRGC fighter unites Iranians". al-Monitor. 14 August 2017. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Haunting last image of Iranian soldier before ISIL execution". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  3. ^ a b "Execution of Iranian Soldier By ISIS Proves That U.S. Is Still at War with Iran". American Herald Tribune. Retrieved 14 September 2017.[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران (2017-09-15). "انتشار اولین جزئیات از شهادت محسن حججی". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  5. ^ a b "Iranian martyr's message to world". Mehr News Agency. 2017-08-19. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  6. ^ "Speaker: Holy Shrine defenders guarantee Iran's security, dignity". The Iran Project. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  7. ^ "Iran to Avenge ISIS Killing of Mohsen Hojaji: IRGC". IFP News. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  8. ^ Behnegarsoft.com. "پیام ارتش درپی شهادت محسن حججی". پایگاه خبری الف.
  9. ^ a b خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران (2017-09-15). "واکنش چهره های مشهور به شهادت محسن حججی". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  10. ^ "طارمی: تمامی موفقیت‌هایم به دلیل دعای مادرم است/ شهید حججی با دستان بسته شجاعت را به تصویر کشید". خبرگزاری تسنیم - Tasnim (in Persian). 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  11. ^ "واکنش علیرضا عصار به شهادت محسن حججی". خبرگزاری تسنیم - Tasnim (in Persian). 2017-08-13. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  12. ^ a b "سفیر سوریه‌: خون‌ مطهر شهید حججى پیروزى را بر تروریسم تکفیرى رقم مى‌زند". خبرگزاری تسنیم - Tasnim (in Persian). 2017-08-12. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  13. ^ a b "Iranian Martyr Hojaji's Funeral Procession to Be Held in Tehran Saturday". Tasnim News Agency. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  14. ^ "Hezbollah Receives Body of Iranian Martyr from Daesh". Tasnim News Agency. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  15. ^ Dehghanpisheh, Babak (2017-09-27). "Iranians pour onto the streets to mourn soldier beheaded in Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
  16. ^ "Ayatollah Khamenei Attends Funeral of Iconic Martyr Hojaji". Tasnim News Agency. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  17. ^ "Iranian Soldier Beheaded by IS in Syria Mourned as an Icon". VOA. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  18. ^ "Tasnim funeral photo gallery". Tasnim News Agency (in Persian). 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  19. ^ "Iconic Martyr Hojaji Laid to Rest in Central Iran". Tasnim News Agency. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2018-02-26.