Militants attack Iran army parade killing civilians: state media

Sep 26, 2018, 04:25
Militants attack Iran army parade killing civilians: state media

Iranian soldiers jump over a hedge at a street as they run for cover during a deadly attack that occurred during a military parade in the city of Ahvaz, southwest Iran on Saturday.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Islamabad expressed solidarity with Tehran and the victims families, adding that Pakistan is against every kind of terrorism.

According to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) spokesman Ramezan Sharif said "The attack by some elements of al-Ahvaziya group which is fed by Saudi Arabia, aimed to overshadow the magnificence of the parade by the Iranian armed forces".

Two of the militants were killed and two others arrested.

This is the shocking moment gunmen disguised as soldiers opened fire at an annual Iranian military parade, killing at least 25 people and injuring 53.

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The attack, which is rare for Iran, was claimed by the Islamic State group, which is made up of Sunni Muslim extremists staunchly opposed to the Shiite clerical state in Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif vowed that his country will respond "swiftly and decisively".

Women and children also died in the violence, state news IRNA agency quoted an unnamed official source as saying.

An Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance and Islamic State (IS) militants have both claimed responsibility for the attack.

There has been a blizzard of furious statements from top Iranian officials blaming the United States and Gulf kingdoms for the bloodshed and threatening a tough response.

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"Iran will neither abandon its defensive weapons nor will reduce its defence capabilities", Rouhani said.

Two separate groups have claimed they carried out the shooting, but neither has provided evidence.

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran was ready to confront the United States and its Gulf Arab allies over the attack.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi was quoted by IRNA as saying the terrorists were "not from Da'esh (ISIS) or other groups fighting (Iran's) Islamic system ... but are linked to America and the [Israeli global intelligence agency] Mossad". The Guards also play a major role in Iran's regional interests in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Iran was quick to blame Israel and the U.S. for the attack, dismissing Islamic State's (IS) claim that they were behind it. Earlier in the month, it closed its side of the Shalamcheh border crossing, which adjoins Basra Province, after protesters burned the Iranian Consulate in Basra city.

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Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province, which has seen attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists.

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