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Confirmed: Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash

Israel denies any involvement in the incident

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (Photo: Screenshot)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died after their helicopter crashed on Sunday, Iranian officials confirmed on Monday morning.

The official Iranian announcement on state TV referred to Raisi's accidental death as martyrdom, saying “The servant of the Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people.”

The helicopter was part of a convoy making its way back to Iran from Azerbaijan through a mountainous area in heavy fog. The Iranian leaders returned from an inauguration ceremony of a jointly-built dam on the border.

Rescue teams found remains of the helicopter after about 14 hours of searches, but have not recovered any of the passengers.

Iran’s Mehr news agency reported that “the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, had an accident while serving and performing his duty for the people of Iran and was martyred.”

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi reported that no sign of life was found at the crash site. Drones, dogs, and numerous search-and-rescue teams searched for the helicopter throughout the night amid bad weather, he said on Iranian state TV.

An Israeli official told Reuters that Israel wasn't involved in the incident, after numerous rumors alleging the Israeli Mossad had assassinated Raisi spread online.

"It wasn't us," the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters on Monday morning.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in a statement praised Raisi’s “inner purity, humility and eagerness to serve the people,” after assuring Iranians that the regime's affairs would not be disrupted by the accident.

According to the Iranian constitution, Iran's vice-president, Mohammad Mokhber, will take over Raisi's duties for the next 50 days, until new elections are held.

In addition to the deaths of Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian, several other prominent figures perished in the helicopter crash, including Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, the Friday Imam of Tabriz, Malek Rahmati, the governor of East Azerbaijan province, Maj.-Gen. Seyed Mehdi Mousavi, head of the president’s security team, as well as the pilot, co-pilot and technician.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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