Iranian president killed in helicopter crash

(UPDATED — May 20, 2024, 14:05 PHT) Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi tragically perished in a helicopter crash, state media confirmed. He was 63.

The crash, which also claimed the lives of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and seven others, occurred during heavy fog while returning from a mission near the Iran-Azerbaijan border.

Despite an extensive search-and-rescue effort, hindered by adverse weather conditions, assistance from the European Union and Turkey, among others, could not prevent the loss.

Raisi's untimely demise coincides with a turbulent period in the Middle East, marked by ongoing conflict in Gaza. The helicopter incident occurred in the aftermath of Iran's retaliatory drone and missile assault on Israel, prompted by a fatal strike on its diplomatic compound in Damascus.

Raisi ascended to the presidency following a notably uncompetitive election in 2021. He had often been viewed as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's foremost authority. He gained infamy for his involvement in the mass execution of his political opponents.

Photo: Getty Images

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