Iran terror attack: 103 killed, 141 wounded in twin explosions as people honour slain general Qasem Soleimani

According to reports, two explosions were heard in quick succession near the grave of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, amid the country marked the anniversary of his killing in a US drone strike in Iraq.

Written By Saurav Mukherjee (with inputs from PTI)
Updated3 Jan 2024
(FILES) Iranian mourners gather during the final stage of funeral processions for slain top general Qasem Soleimani, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)
(FILES) Iranian mourners gather during the final stage of funeral processions for slain top general Qasem Soleimani, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)(AFP)

Explosions at an event honouring a prominent Iranian general Qasem Soleimani slain in a US airstrike in 2020 have killed at least 103 people and wounded 141 others, state-run media in Iran reported on Wednesday, as officials have called it a terrorist attack.

Mohammad Saberi – the head of Kerman’s emergency services –  has confirmed to state media that more of the critically injured in the blasts have now died, bringing the total number of dead to 103, according to Al Jazeera.

“The current number of the injured is 141, some of whom are critically injured,” he said.

ALSO READ: Iran terror attack LIVE

The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Dr Mohammad Saberi, the head of Kerman emergency services, for the figure. Babak Yektaparast, a spokesman for Iran's emergency service, gave the casualty figure to state media.

According to reports, two explosions were heard in quick succession near the grave of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, as the country marked the anniversary of his killing in a US drone strike in Iraq.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that the initial explosion took place at 3.00 pm local time, with a subsequent explosion occurring after people had assembled to assist in the aftermath of the first incident, adding, the majority of casualties resulted from the second explosion.

The blasts struck an event marking the fourth anniversary of the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force. who died in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020.

ALSO READ: US Navy destroys boats controlled by Iran-backed militias in Red Sea

The explosions occurred near his gravesite in Kerman, about 820 kilometers southeast of the capital, Tehran.

Kerman’s deputy governor, Rahman Jalali, called the attack “terroristic,” without elaborating. However, no group immediately claimed responsibility.

Though it is still unclear who who behind the attack, Iran has multiple foes who could be behind the assault. These may include exile groups, militant organizations, and state actors. Earlier, Iran has supported Hamas as well as the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Who was Soleimani?

Considered the architect of Iran's regional military activities, Soleimani is hailed as a national icon among supporters of Iran's theocracy.

He had helped secure Syrian President Bashar Assad's government after the 2011 Arab Spring protests against him turned into a civil, and later a regional, war that still rages today.

His popularity and mystique grew following American officials calling for his killing over his help arming militants with penetrating roadside bombs that killed and maimed US troops.

But in January 2020, a drone strike launched by the Trump administration killed the general. A stampede broke out and at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 were injured as thousands thronged the procession.

With agency inputs.

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