ISIS claims responsibility for blasts in Iran which killed nearly 100 people

The group said that two suicide bombers detonated explosives while mourners gathered at the tomb of Qassem Soleimani

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly Iran bombing

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly Iran bombing
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Iran is observing a day of mourning on Thursday after blasts killed at least 84 people marking the anniversary of the death of military commander Qassem Suleimani.

It was the deadliest attack since a 1978 arson incident that killed at least 377, AFP reported.

ISIS on Thursday claimed responsibility for the twin explosions in a statement released by the Amaq news agency, which is affiliated with the group.

Two suicide bombers detonated explosives while mourners gathered at the tomb of Maj Gen Suleimani, “who was involved in dozens of massacres of Muslims in Iraq and Syria”, ISIS said in the statement, published with a photo of the masked fighters standing in front of the group's flag.

It said the attack “dealt a strong security blow to the Iranian government … at a time when several parties are trying to promote the Iranian project in the region".

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Thursday that the death toll stood at 84, with 284 injured. However, the number could change as several of the injured were in critical condition, Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying during a visit to hospitals in Kerman.

Health Minister Bahram Einollahi earlier revised the overnight death toll of 103 to 95, after it was found that some fatalities had been counted twice

Funerals for the victims are to be held from Friday morning. Iranian authorities called for mass protests over the Kerman blasts after weekly prayers on Friday.

Authorities have yet to announce details on what caused the explosions, but the state-run IRNA news agency quoted an unnamed source on Thursday as saying that investigators believed suicide bombers probably carried out the attack.

Surveillance footage from the route to Kerman's Martyrs' Cemetery shows a man detonating the explosives, the official said.

He added that the second blast “probably” came from another suicide bomber.

State TV broadcast footage of ambulances arriving at the scene of the blasts as people tried to help those injured.

“We were walking towards the cemetery when a car suddenly stopped behind us and a waste bin containing a bomb exploded. We only heard the explosion and saw people falling,” a witness was quoted as saying by the Isna news agency.

Crowds later returned to the Martyrs Cemetery in Kerman and chanted slogans condemning Israel and the US.

In Tehran, thousands gathered at the Grand Mosalla Mosque to pay tribute to Maj Gen Suleimani, the former leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020.

Maj Gen Suleimani's daughter, Zeinab, called the blasts a “bitter terrorist incident”. “I hope the perpetrators of the crime will be identified and punished for their actions.” she said.

Iranian officials have also described the blasts as a terrorist attack and vowed to retaliate.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed “evil and criminal enemies of the Iranian nation” and said there would be a “harsh response”.

President Ebrahim Raisi said those behind the explosions would face action. “Undoubtedly, the perpetrators … of this cowardly act will soon be identified and punished for their heinous act by the capable security and law enforcement forces,” he said in a statement.

His senior adviser, Mohammad Jamshidi, accused Israel and the US of being behind the blasts.

“Make no mistake. The responsibility for this crime lies with the US and Zionist regimes and terrorism is just a tool,” he wrote on X.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment on the explosions. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said any suggestion of American involvement was “ridiculous” and that Washington had “no reason to believe that Israel was involved”.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 6:13 AM