Gunmen attack Iranian military parade in Ahvas, killing dozens

Gunmen attack Iranian military parade in Ahvas, killing dozens

Gunmen attack Iranian military parade in Ahvas, killing dozens

This picture taken on September 22, 2018 in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz shows a soldier running past injured comrades lying on the ground at the scene of an attack on a military parade that was marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

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

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the assault was the handiwork of "regional terror sponsors", language that usually refers to Iran's enemies Saudi Arabia and Israel, and "their US masters".

The assailants had hidden weapons in an area near the parade route several days in advance, said Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for Iran's armed forces.

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

"Two were killed and two arrested", Hosseinzadeh said. The province has a large ethnic Arab community, many of them Sunni, the Muslim denomination to which IS adheres and which is a minority in Shiite Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also blamed "a foreign regime" backed by the United States for Saturday's attack that killed at least eight troops and several civilians.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reported that initially, attackers were described as "takfiri gunmen" by news agencies, a term sometimes used to describe Islamic State fighters.

The allegation will likely ratchet up tensions with Iran's rival Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, who along with the United States have been working to isolate the Islamic Republic.

It said gunmen wore Guard uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting.

Yaghub Hur Totsari, spokesman for one of the two groups that identify themselves as the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, said the Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella organisation of all armed movements, was behind the attack but did not specify which group.

"Rather it will increase its defense power day by day".

Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and USA bases in the Middle East.

Rouhani said the USA withdraw from the nuclear deal was an attempt to get Iran to give up its military arsenal.

A 2017 double bombing in Tehran claimed by the Sunni extremist group Islamic State left 18 people dead. The Guards also play a major role in Iran's regional interests in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Khamenei ordered security forces to bring to justice those responsible for one of the worst assaults ever against the Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful and heavily armed military force in the country, which answers to him. The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

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