Iran claims Israeli-Tajik was one of two suicide bombers in Kerman attack

ISIS has claimed responsibility for bombings that killed about 100

Relatives mourn the victims of last week’s explosion in Kerman, Iran. Getty Images
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Iran's Intelligence Ministry on Thursday said one of the two suicide bombers who carried out an attack last week in Kerman city was an Israeli-Tajik, the country's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The news outlet provided no evidence for the claim of the suspect's dual nationality.

The twin suicide attacks targeted a gathering of thousands of mourners commemorating the fourth anniversary of the death of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Qassem Suleimani, architect of Iran's so-called Axis of Resistance – a regional network of allied groups – who was killed in a US strike in Baghdad in early 2020.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Kerman bombings in a statement on Telegram. The extremist group said two of its members had “activated their explosives vests” at a gathering near the grave in the southern Iranian city.

The statement identified one suicide bomber as 24-year-old Bazirov "Bozrov", who joined ISIS after becoming acquainted with the terrorists through the Telegram platform.

"In recent months, this suicide bomber left for the city of Van in Turkey and after that he went to Afghanistan by passing through Iran with the help of smugglers located in the western and eastern borders of the country," it added.

There, he attended an ISIS camp in Badakhshan province where he was further indoctrinated and trained, Iran said.

He entered Iran illegally through the border point of Jalek-Kolegan in Saravan city by local smugglers and passed through the cities of Khash, Iranshahr and Jiroft. He settled in Kerman, it added.

Based on the latest investigation, the mastermind of the attack was also a Tajik, nicknamed "Abdullah Tajiki", who entered Iran illegally on December 28 from the south-eastern border, along with a woman and a child, Irna reported. He left the country two days before the attack.

A total of 35 people have been arrested in relation to the attack, according to Irna. More information will be released at a later date about the second suicide bomber, the Intelligence Ministry said, adding that the arrests had been carried out in several Iranian provinces.

Tehran has vowed revenge for the bloodiest terrorist attack on its soil since the 1979 revolution that ousted a pro-western regime.

ISIS has over the years attracted a number of recruits from the Tajik ethnic group, who live primarily in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The attacks on Kerman were claimed by the branch of ISIS based in Afghanistan.

Many Tajiks were active fighters and field leaders when the terrorist group controlled large areas in Iraq from mid-2014 to late 2017.

Updated: January 11, 2024, 1:36 PM