More than 100 killed in 'terrorist attacks' near tomb of Iranian Guards' Soleimani

January 4, 2024 8:33 am

[Source: Reuters]

Two explosions killed nearly 100 people and wounded scores at a ceremony in Iran to commemorate commander Qassem Soleimani who was killed by a U.S. drone in 2020, Iranian officials said, blaming unspecified “terrorists”.

Iranian state television reported a first and then a second blast after 20 minutes during a crowded fourth-anniversary event at the cemetery where Soleimani is buried in the southeastern city of Kerman.

No one claimed responsibility for the blasts.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned the “heinous and inhumane crime”, and Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed revenge for the bloody twin bombings.

“Cruel criminals … must know that they will be strongly dealt with from now on and … undoubtedly there will be a harsh response,” Khamenei said in a statement, according to state media.

Several countries, including Russia and Turkey, condemned the attacks, and the U.N. Secretary-General called for those responsible to be held accountable.

Iranian Health Minister Bahram Eynollahi told state TV the death toll was at 95, down from 103, and said 211 others were injured, making it the deadliest attack in the history of the Islamic Republic, which has faced similar incidents in the past from various groups, including Islamic State.

Iran has in the past blamed Israel for attacks on individual people or places within its borders – claims which Israel has neither confirmed nor denied – but there was no indication of any involvement of a foreign state in the cemetery explosions.

The U.S. has seen no indication Israel was behind the blasts, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.

An unnamed official told state news agency IRNA that “two explosive devices planted along the road leading to Kerman’s Martyrs’ Cemetery were detonated remotely by terrorists”.