Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in Tehran on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people in an unprecedented assault, Reuters reports.
Attackers dressed as women burst through parliament’s main entrance, the report said, citing Iranian officials and local media.
One of the attackers detonated a suicide vest, Iran’s deputy interior minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari was quoted as telling Tasnim news agency.
Police helicopters circled over parliament, with snipers on its rooftop. Within five hours, four attackers were dead and the incident was over.
“Soon after the assault on parliament began, a bomber detonated a suicide vest near the shrine of the Islamic Republic’s revered founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, a few kilometers south of the city, Zolfaghari said.
A second attacker was shot dead, he said. The shrine is a main destination for tourists and religious pilgrims.
By late evening, Zolfaghari put the death toll at 13, with 43 wounded.
The Intelligence Ministry said security forces had arrested another “terrorist team” planning a third attack.
The deputy head of Iran’s National Security Council, Reza Seifollhai, told state TV that the attackers were people from Iran who had joined Islamic State (IS).
Sunni Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in the Tehran attacks, but the assault further fuels tensions between Riyadh and Tehran as they vie for control of the Gulf and influence in the wider Islamic world, Reuters noted.
IS claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks in Iran, which has been one of the powers leading the fight against the jihadist group in nearby Iraq and Syria.
Following the attacks, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: “These fireworks have no effect on Iran. They will soon be eliminated.”
“They are too small to affect the will of the Iranian nation and its officials,” he said.
The powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused Riyadh of being behind the attacks and vowed to seek revenge.
“This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the US president (Donald Trump) and the (Saudi) backward leaders who support terrorists. The fact that Islamic State has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the brutal attack,” a Guards statement said.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he did not know who was responsible for the attacks and said there was no evidence Saudi extremists were involved.
– Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org