Twin attack in Tehran hits Parliament and Khomeini mausoleum
Security forces foiled a third attack. At least 12 people have died with scores of wounded. The Islamic State group claims responsibility following months of propaganda in Persian. The United States and Saudi Arabia engage in an anti-Iranian campaign as well.
Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tehran this morning suffered two terrorist attacks, half an hour apart, one against the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, and the other at the Ruhollah Khomeini mausoleum, dedicated to the founder of the Islamic Republic.
At least 12 people died in twin attacks with another ten wounded. The Intelligence Ministry said security forces had arrested another "terrorist team" planning a third attack.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility in connection with the attacks.
Four gunmen dressed as women burst into the parliament building. After five hours, they managed to kill two people, including a security guard, before they were killed.
Parliament was in session as the attacks unfolded but lawmakers were not affected.
Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks as a "trivial matter", and that “necessary steps” had been taken.
The attack against the Khomeini mausoleum, located some 20 kilometres from the parliament building, began half an hour later when three or four gunmen opened fire, killing a gardener and wounding several people. A female suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest near the shrine. A second attacker was shot dead.
The attacks took place a few weeks the United States and Saudi Arabia intensified their anti-Iranian campaign, going after a country like Qatar that is allegedly soft on Iran.
This morning, before the attack, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Iran must be punished for its interference in the region.
Iran has a population of 81 million with about 5-10 per cent Sunni, especially in the Kurdish and Baluchi regions.
Many attacks and clashes occurred in the first years of the Islamic Republic involving the notorious Mojahedin-e Khalq group. Jihadi groups have also clashed with Iranian forces along the borders with Iraq and Afghanistan, but never in urban centres.
The Islamic State group recently expanded its campaign to recruit Iranians and disseminate its message to Persian speakers. In late March, it released its first video in Persian, warning that it "will conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before."
Although some analysts think that the campaign has little appeal among Sunni, some reports and increased warnings by Iranian officials suggest that the extremist group has managed to recruit among Iranians.
In June 2016, Iranian news sites quoted an unnamed "informed source" as saying that authorities had arrested 18 people who were using the highly popular Telegram app to recruit new members
Last week, authorities in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar, where the Islamic State has reportedly been active, released a video in which a man claimed he was from Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province and had joined the group via Telegram.