Iran celebrates a day of mourning after two explosions killed more than 80 people News

More than 280 people were injured in the attacks that occurred at a memorial to the slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Iranians celebrate a day of mourning after twin bombings in the city of Kerman killed and injured several people at a memorial service for Iranian General Qasem Soleimani four years after his assassination, raising tensions in the region.

The Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency quoted Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi as saying on Thursday that at least 84 people were killed in the explosions.

Jafar Meadfar, Iran's emergency services chief, said the previous death toll of 103 people was revised twice after officials realized that some names were repeated on the list of victims, and because bodies had been dismembered and counted “several times.”

More than 280 people were injured in Wednesday's attacks, and 195 of them remain in hospital.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombings in a statement issued on Thursday.

The organization said on its official channel on the Telegram application that two of its members “detonated their explosive vests” at the gathering near Soleimani’s grave.

This is the deadliest attack targeting Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

The explosions occurred minutes apart, and shook the city of Kerman, about 820 kilometers (510 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. The second explosion wounded a crowd of people who were screaming to flee from the first explosion with shrapnel.

People scatter near the site where two explosions in quick succession struck a crowd marking the 2020 anniversary of the killing of Qasem Soleimani in the southern Iranian city of Kerman. [Mehr News/AFP]

The commemoration marks the fourth anniversary of the killing of Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in a US drone strike in Iraq ordered by former President Donald Trump. The explosions occurred near his grave while long lines of people gathered to attend the event.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who canceled his scheduled trip to Turkey, declared Thursday a national day of mourning in honor of the victims of the bombings.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the country's “evil and criminal enemies” for the attack and vowed a “harsh response.”

Khamenei said in a statement: “These hard-hearted criminals could not bear the love and enthusiasm that people had for visiting the shrine of their great leader Qasem Soleimani.”

“Let them know that Soleimani’s soldiers will not tolerate their meanness and crimes.”

The United Nations, the European Union and several countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany and Iraq, condemned the bombings.

The attacks came a day after Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement, an ally of Iran, was killed in a drone strike in the Lebanese capital Beirut, raising fears of further escalation in the region in the wake of the attack. The beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7.


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