One hundred and three people were killed in twin blasts near the mausoleum of General Qassem Soleimani in southern Iran on Wednesday, January 3, as the country marks the fourth anniversary of his death, state television reported. Earlier reports put the death toll at 73. It was the worst attack in Iran since 1979.
The attack was quickly described as an act “terrorist” Rahman Jalali, deputy governor of Kerman province in southern Iran. It was not immediately claimed.
According to the latest information provided by state television, 141 people were injured – some critically – in the explosions near the Saheb al-Zaman mosque, where Soleimani's tomb is located, in southern Iran's Kerman.
Bombs “actuated by remote control”
According to the local Tasnim agency, citing well-informed sources, due to explosions “Bombs hidden in two bags”. “It appears that the criminals activated the bombs by remote control.”According to the same source.
The ISNA agency, citing Kerman's mayor Said Tabrizi, said the explosions occurred ten minutes apart. Videos posted on social media showed attendees desperately trying to leave the site as security personnel cordoned off the area. In other videos, people can be seen running, panicking and disoriented. Rescuers rushed to the spot shortly after the explosions. A number of ambulances were also called to the spot.
State television reported “Following the terrorist attack in Kerman, the government has declared tomorrow a day of national mourning across the country.”.
Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi condemned the attack. “There is no doubt that the perpetrators of this cowardly act will soon be identified and punished for their heinous act by the relevant security and law enforcement agencies. » Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assured him “Hard Response”. “The evil and criminal enemies of the Iranian nation have once again brought a catastrophe and made martyrs of our people in Kerman.”The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution announced in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also condemned the attack. “The murder of peaceful people going to a cemetery is shocking in its brutality and cynicism”He lamented in a message to his Iranian counterpart, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Kremlin. “We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms”The Russian president, a close ally of Iran, added.
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For its part, the European Union (EU) “Expressing solidarity with the Iranian people”A spokesperson for the European Diplomatic Service condemned the move in a press release “The Shocking Number” Civilian casualties. Those who carried out this attack “To be responsible”, adds text. It is with the Secretary-General of the United Nations “Compulsory Condemnation” Attack, they call it “So that those responsible are brought to justice” In court, its Deputy Spokesperson Florencia Soto Nino, A Report.
Qasim Soleimani is a popular personality of the country
Qassem Soleimani was killed in January 2020, aged 62, in a US drone strike in Iraq. A prominent figure in the Iranian regime, he was also one of the country's most popular public figures.
After serving in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Soleimani quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming head of the Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, responsible for the Islamic Republic's external operations. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared three days of national mourning upon his death.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to speak at an event commemorating the assassination of General Soleimani during a speech scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, the day after powerful Hamas leader Saleh al-Aruri was assassinated in Beirut. .
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”