Middle East

Armed gunmen attack Iran military parade, killing soldiers and civilians

An attack on a military parade Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan killed a number of soldiers and civilians, with officials blaming the deaths on “terrorists.”

At least 24 soldiers and civilians were killed and more than 50 wounded in the Saturday, September 22 attack in the city of Ahvaz. State-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the attackers were dressed as military personnel.

Fars news agency said four unidentified men opened fire on the crowd watching the ceremony around 9 a.m. and attempted to attack military officials on the podium.

Military personnel paraded across Iran, including in Ahvaz, on Saturday to mark the 38th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War.

Provincial deputy governor Ali-Hossein Hosseinzadeh said at least 10 people were killed and 21 others were wounded in the “terrorist attack,” Tasnim news agency reported.

Khuzestan Governor Gholam-Reza Shariati said two of the attackers were killed, two others arrested, and order had been restored to the city.

“None of the authorities were injured in the incident due to the fast reaction of the security forces,” he told IRNA.

A journalist and a bodyguard for a local Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander were said to be among the casualties.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime” for the incident, without elaborating.

“Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their U.S. masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” he said in a tweet.

IRNA blamed the attack on “takfiri elements,” likely a reference to either Iran’s Ahwazi Arab separatists or Islamic State.

Both ISIS and a group called Ahvaz National Resistance claimed responsibility for the attack.


This story was updated throughout the day on September 22 with additional information.

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