24 killed in militants’ attack on Iran military parade in Ahvaz

Pakistan strongly denounces attack on Iranian military parade

TEHRAN: Gunmen attacked a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, killing 24 and wounding 53, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said.
The IRNA report said those wounded in the attack on Saturday included a woman and a child.
Earlier reports described the assailants as “Takfiri gunmen”, a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.
The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.
State television showed images of the immediate aftermath. In it, paramedics could be seen helping someone in military fatigues laying on the ground. Other armed security personnel shouted at each other in front of what appeared to be a viewing stand for the parade.
The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack’s aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.
The attack struck on Ahvaz’s Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has blamed regional countries and their “United States masters” for the attack.
Zarif on Twitter warned that “Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives” after the attack in Ahvaz.
He said that children and journalists were casualties in the attack.
He added that the gunmen were “terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime”.
He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there.
Saturday’s attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017, Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.
That attack had at that point been the only one by the Sunni extremists inside of Shiite Iran, which has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria where the militants once held vast territory.
At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the 2017 attack that saw gunmen carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives storm the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress, starting an hours-long siege.
Meanwhile, gunmen and suicide bombers also struck outside Khomeini’s mausoleum on Tehran’s southern outskirts. Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989.
Ahvaz is the capital of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province. The province in the past has seen Arab separatists attack oil pipelines.
The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

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