- Women and children among casualties – state media
- President says Iran will respond to attack
- Protesters mark 40 days since death in custody of Mercer Amini
DUBAI (Reuters) – The Islamic State militant group said on Wednesday it had killed 15 people in an attack on a holy site for Shia Muslims in Iran. Reply from Tehran.
Iranian officials said they had arrested a gunman who carried out an attack at the Shah Chella temple in the city of Shiraz. State media have accused “takfiri terrorists” – the label Tehran uses for hardline Sunni Islamic extremists like the Islamic State.
The group claims previous attacks in Iran, including a deadly twin bombing in 2017 targeting the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran’s parliament and the Islamic Republic.
Wednesday’s killing of a Shia pilgrim has grown more violent as Iranian security forces mark the 40-day anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Murthy Amini, in police custody. It happened on the same day that it clashed with a new protester.
Home Minister Ahmad Bahidi accused Iran of laying the groundwork for the attack on Shiraz, and President Ebrahim Raishi said Iran would respond, according to state media.
“Experience shows that Iran’s enemies will take revenge through violence and terror after failing to bring divisions into the nation’s cohesive classes,” Raishi said.
“This crime will definitely not be solved and security forces and law enforcement will teach those who planned and carried out the attack.”
The semi-official Tasnim News Agency said the attackers shot an employee at the entrance to the shrine before their rifles were jammed and they were chased by bystanders.
He managed to repair the gun and, after firing at his pursuers, entered the courtyard and shot the worshiper. Several women and children died, it said.
An eyewitness to Shah Cheragh told state television: It hit his wife’s back, but thank god my kid is 7 and it didn’t hit. ”
the day of the collision
The attack in Shiraz comes at the end of a day of nationwide confrontation between security forces and protesters, with video footage showing some of the most violent clashes in the chaos more than a month after Amini’s death. Done.
The demonstration has become one of the most daring challenges to clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution. Various Iranians have taken to the streets, some calling for the collapse of the Islamic Republic and the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali and his Khamenei.
Witnesses said security forces opened fire on mourners in Saqez, Amini’s Kurdish hometown, on Wednesday.
“Riot police shot dead mourners who had gathered at the cemetery for Masa’s memorial service…dozens were arrested,” said a witness. Iranian officials could not comment.
The semi-official ISNA news agency said about 10,000 people were in the cemetery, adding that the internet was cut off after clashes between security forces and those there.
Social media videos showed crowds filling the streets in many cities, closing bazaars in Tehran and some other cities, and chanting “death to Khamenei”.
The Iranian protest-focused Twitter account 1500tasvir, which has 280,000 followers, reported a “brutal crackdown” on protesters in multiple locations in Tehran, including a rally at the Tehran Medical Association.
Video footage on social media appeared to show members of the Basij militia firing at protesters in Tehran.
Other videos showed protesters chasing riot police and throwing stones at them. They also showed protesters setting riot police motorcycles on fire in the holy Shia city of Mashhad.
Some protesters chanted “We will fight, die and take back Iran” from the clerical rulers.
Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the footage.
State news agency IRNA said an elite Revolutionary Guard member had been shot dead “by a mob” in the western city of Malaya.
A former Iranian reformist official said the spread of protests appeared to have taken the authorities by surprise and contrasted with the ruling regime’s claims that support for the Islamic regime was overwhelming.
Some analysts said the prospects for the imminent dawn of a new political order were dim, but activists said the wall of fear had crumbled and the path to a new revolution was irreversible.
Students have played a pivotal role in the protests, with dozens of universities going on strike. Hundreds of schoolgirls took part and shouted “freedom, freedom, freedom” despite a heavy crackdown by security forces.
State media and hardline officials branded the protesters “hypocrites, monarchists, thugs and agitators.”
At least 250 protesters, including teenage girls, were killed and thousands were arrested, according to human rights groups.
Authorities, which have accused the US and other Western countries of fomenting “riots”, have yet to release a death toll, but state media said about 30 members of the security forces were killed. .
Written by Parisa Hafezi and Dominic Evans Editing by Michael George, Nick McPhee and Alistair Bell
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