Over 100 killed in ‘terrorist attacks’ near Iranian Guards commander Soleimani’s tomb during ceremony

Iranian state television conveyed news of an initial explosion followed by a subsequent one during a commemorative event at the cemetery where Soleimani is interred in the southeastern city of Kerman.

More than 100 individuals lost their lives, and numerous others sustained injuries in two explosions attributed to ‘terrorist attacks’ at a ceremony in Iran commemorating the late commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone in 2020, as announced by Iranian officials on Wednesday.

According to Iranian state television, there were initial and subsequent explosions during the anniversary event at the cemetery in the southeastern city of Kerman, where Soleimani is laid to rest.

An unidentified official informed the state news agency IRNA that “Two explosive devices, strategically placed along the route to Kerman’s Martyrs’ Cemetery, were remotely detonated by terrorists.

According to Babak Yektaparast, a representative for Iran’s emergency services, reports indicated that 73 individuals lost their lives, and 170 others sustained injuries. However, state television later stated that a minimum of 100 people had been killed. As of now, no group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attacks.

Footage broadcasted by Iranian media depicted numerous lifeless bodies scattered about, with some onlookers attempting to assist survivors, while others hastily evacuated the site of the explosion.

Reza Fallah, the head of the Kerman Red Crescent Society, informed state television, “Despite all the security and safety measures, a dreadful sound was heard there. We are still investigating.” Rescuers from the Red Crescent attended to the injured individuals at the ceremony, where hundreds had assembled to commemorate the anniversary of Soleimani’s death. Certain Iranian news agencies suggested that the count of wounded individuals was considerably higher.

“We are currently in the process of evacuating the wounded and injured from the area. The crowd is substantial, and the task is challenging as all access routes are blocked,” Fallah stated.

The U.S. carried out the drone attack that resulted in the assassination of Soleimani at Baghdad airport, and in response, Tehran targeted two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops. This sequence of events in 2020 brought the United States and Iran close to a full-blown conflict.

Soleimani, serving as the chief commander of the elite Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), orchestrated covert operations in foreign nations. He played a pivotal role in Iran’s longstanding efforts to expel U.S. forces from the Middle East.

Tensions between Iran and Israel, as well as their ally, the United States, have escalated significantly due to Israel’s military actions against Iranian-backed Hamas militants in Gaza. These operations were conducted in retaliation for the militants’ rampage through southern Israel on October 7.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen has targeted ships they allege are connected to Israel at the entrance to the Red Sea, a crucial global shipping route.

In Iraq and Syria, U.S. forces have faced attacks from militants supported by Iran due to Washington’s support for Israel. In response, U.S. forces have conducted retaliatory airstrikes.

Recently, an Israeli airstrike in Syria resulted in the death of a high-ranking official from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. While Iran has previously accused Israel of attacks on specific individuals or locations within its borders, Israel has neither confirmed nor denied these claims. However, there is no indication of foreign involvement in the explosions during Wednesday’s ceremony.

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