Tuesday 11 December 2018

Iran gunmen attack military parade

Reports described the assailants as ‘Takifiri gunmen’, a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

Revolutionary Guard members carry a wounded comrade after the attack (AP Photo/ISNA, Shayan Haji Najaf)
Revolutionary Guard members carry a wounded comrade after the attack (AP Photo/ISNA, Shayan Haji Najaf)

By Nasser Karimi, Associated Press

Gunmen attacked a military parade in the south-west Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, killing at least eight Revolutionary Guard members, the semi-official Tasnim news agency says.

The state-run IRNA news agency said a woman and a child were also among the wounded.

Earlier reports described the assailants as “Takifiri gunmen”, a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

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Iranian armed forces members and civilians take shelter in the aftermath of the shooting (Behrad Ghasemi/ISNA/AP))

The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter blamed regional countries and their “US masters” for the attack and warned that “Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives”.

Zarif added that the gunmen were “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime”.

State television showed images of the immediate aftermath.

In it, paramedics could be seen helping someone in military fatigues lying on the ground.

Other armed security personnel shouted at each other in front of what appeared to be a viewing stand for the parade.

The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack’s aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniform helping each other walk away.

The attack struck on Ahvaz’s Quds, or Jerusalem Boulevard.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Saturday’s attack came after a co-ordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.

That attack had at that point been the only one by the Sunni extremists inside of Shiite Iran, which has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria where the militants once held vast territory.

At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the 2017 attack that saw gunmen carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives storm the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress, starting an hours-long siege.

Meanwhile, gunmen and suicide bombers also struck outside Khomeini’s mausoleum on Tehran’s southern outskirts.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province. The province in the past has seen Arab separatists attack oil pipelines.

The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

Press Association

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