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Iran fires ballistic missiles at eastern Syria in retaliation for Ahvaz attack

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Monday they had launched a missile attack against a “terrorist” headquarters in Syria in retaliation for a September attack on the Iranian city of Ahvaz.

“The headquarters of those responsible for the terrorist crime in Ahvaz was attacked a few minutes ago east of the Euphrates by several ballistic missiles fired by the aerospace branch of the Guardians of the Revolution,” the IRGC said on its official website on Monday, October 1.

“Based on preliminary reports, many takfiri terrorists and the leaders responsible for the terrorist crime in Ahvaz have been killed or wounded in this missile attack,” the IRGC added.

The term “takfiri,” derived from the Arabic word for anathema, is used by the Iranian authorities to refer to Sunni jihadists, including Islamic State.

The Guards did not say where the missiles were launched from but state-run IRNA television showed the area as Iran’s western Kermanshah province, AP reported.

According to Iran’s Fars news agency, the Guards fired six Zolfaghar and Qiam surface-to-surface missiles, with a range of 750 kilometres and 800 kilometres (465 and 500 miles), respectively. They hit near the town of Bukamal in Deir Ezzor province near the Syria-Iraq border, Fars said.

The IRGC continued targeting the area with drones, IRNA reported.

Videos posted on social media appeared to show one of the missiles falling near a cement factor in Kermanshah city. Governor Houshang Bazvand denied the claim.

The Syrian army said it recaptured Bukamal from ISIS in November but at the area continues to be targeted. The Euphrates river is the deconfliction line that separates pro-regime forces from the U.S.-led Coalition and its partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces.

No Coalition forces were in danger, a spokesperson for CJTF-OIR told The Defense Post.

“Iranian forces did conduct no notice strikes last night and we see open source reports stating they were targeting militants it blamed for the recent attack on an Iranian military parade in the Middle Euphrates River Valley,” CJTF-OIR spokesperson Colonel Sean Ryan said. “At this time, the Coalition is still assessing if any damage occurred and no Coalition forces were in danger.”

On September 22, 24 people were shot dead in an attack at a military parade in Ahvaz in southwest Iran. Both ISIS and an Iranian separatist group called Ahvaz National Resistance have claimed responsibility for the attack. ISIS later threatened to carry out additional attacks in Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had vowed a “crushing” response in retaliation.

This story was updated on October 1 with additional information and a statement from CJTF-OIR.

With reporting from AFP

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