Islamic State group claims attacks on Iran's parliament, shrine

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 8, 2017

As the parliament siege was unfolding, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the shrine of Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which is located just outside Tehran.

In a statement released hours after the attacks, the Revolutionary Guard said it held Saudi Arabia responsible for the Sunni jihadist group's actions and promised revenge.

The attack shocked Tehran: Until now, Iran has largely escaped the regular assaults launched against other participants in neighboring Syria's civil war.

Iran's state TV says four attackers were involved in the parliament shooting.

Sunni extremists, including the ISIS, despise Shiite-majority Iran. The twin attacks wounded at least 42 people and killed 12.

Lawmaker Elias Hazrati told state television three attackers, one with a pistol and two with AK-47 assault rifles, raided parliament on Wednesday.

This was the most serious terrorist incident in Tehran since the early years of the Islamic revolution of 1979 led by Khomeini, the BBC reported.

One of them detonated a suicide vest in the parliament, he said.

The Associated Press cited witnesses on the scene that heard gunfire from the parliament building directed at the streets below while police helicopters circled the scene.

Two other terrorists at the mausoleum, one of them a woman, were arrested. A third attack was reportedly prevented, according to Iran's Intelligence Ministry. The Tasnim news agency said that the identity and motivation of the assailant was still unclear.

It marked the first time IS has claimed an attack in Iran - a country that suffers from fewer attacks than its neighbours. He pledged to continue fighting worldwide terrorism.

Gun ownership is heavily controlled in Iran, raising speculation that the attackers smuggled weapons into the country.

At least 12 people were killed and 39 wounded in two attacks targeting the parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran.

The "spilled blood of the innocent will not remain unavenged", the Revolutionary Guard statement said. Bin Salman had reported noted in May that the Iranian government perceived Riyadh as a "primary target" for state-sponsored terrorism, and said: "We won't wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia".

An Associated Press reporter saw several police snipers on the rooftops of buildings around parliament.

"Fighters from Islamic state attacked Khomeini's shrine and the Iranian parliament in Tehran".

Nelly Lahoud, an expert on extremism at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Bahrain, said IS leaders may be looking to rally supporters through the attacks in Iran as they lose ground in Syria and Iraq.

The attack comes after ISIS produced a Persian-language video in March, boasting that it would "conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before".

Iranian authorities denied there had been a hostage situation inside Parliament even as hundreds of security personnel, some in civilian clothes and armed with revolvers, ringed the building.

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