Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

At least 24 killed and 53 hurt in attack on Iranian parade

At least 24 killed and 53 hurt in attack on Iranian parade

"Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz", Mr Zarif tweeted.

Iran blamed the U.S. and its allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, for an attack in Ahvaz that killed 25 and wounded dozens.

He blamed regional countries and their "US masters" for the attack, adding that Iran would respond "swiftly and decisively".

State media reports say around 20 people, including a child and women, were also injured in what the Iranian media termed a terrorist attack. Two of them were killed and two others were detained.

Iran will be scrambling to determine the motives for the Saturday's high-profile attack as it faces growing US pressure.

Gunmen fired on a military parade in southwestern Iran on Saturday, killing 25 people, nearly half of them members of the Revolutionary Guards, state news agencies reported, in one of the worst attacks ever on the elite force.

Fars news agency said the assault started at 09:00 local time and appeared to involve four gunmen.

But in the hours following the attack, state-run media is now reporting the Al-Ahwaz separatist group claimed the responsibility for the attack.

The semi-official news agency Mehr said further shooting broke out as some of the attackers who managed to escape were being chased.

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The US and Saudi Arabia accuse Iran of supporting Houthi rebels in the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting on the side of the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Islamic State jihadists said via their propaganda mouthpiece Amaq that "Islamic State fighters attacked a gathering of Iranian forces" in Ahvaz, but the claim could not be verified and many recent IS claims have proved false.

Ramazan Sharif, a spokesman for the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, blamed the Al-Ahvazieh group and accused Saudi Arabia of fomenting the incident, according to Isna.

Last year, in the first deadly attack claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 people were killed at the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first leader of the Islamic Republic.

Saturday's rally was one of many in cities across Iran held to mark the anniversary of the launch of the war with massive Iraqi air strikes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday denounced the attack, offering condolences to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and calling for stronger anti-terrorism cooperation.

In a keynote speech, Rouhani vowed to boost Iran's ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his US counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned the JCPOA nuclear deal with Tehran.

"We will never decrease our defensive capabilities. we will increase them day by day", Rouhani said at a military parade. "The fact that they are angry at our missiles shows that these are the most influential weapons Iran has".

From Tehran, Rouhani watched a military parade that included ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel and USA military bases in the Mideast.

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