Iran: At least 103 killed due to explosions at Soleimani ceremony

Two remote-controlled bombs kill over 100 people at memorial event for Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Two explosions at a memorial event for Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in the city of Kerman, Iran, killed at least 103 people and wounded 141 others on Wednesday. The event marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Soleimani, who was the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran and a revered figure of the revolution. He was killed by a US airstrike near Baghdad airport in January 2020.

The Iranian state television reported that the blasts occurred near Soleimani’s grave and blamed them on terrorism. The official IRNA news agency said that the first blast happened 700 meters away from the grave and the second one was one kilometer away.

The Tasnim news agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guard, quoted informed sources as saying that the explosions were triggered by remote-controlled bombs hidden in two bags. The agency said that the bombs “exploded” at the site.

The blasts scattered the crowd of people who had gathered at the cemetery of Kerman to pay tribute to Soleimani. Ambulances rushed to the scene to transport the injured to the nearby hospitals, according to the Iranian media.

Reza Fallah, the head of the Red Crescent of Kerman province, told IRNA that about 170 injured people had been taken to hospitals so far. He also said that a loud explosion was heard and that the authorities were investigating its cause.

Soleimani’s death anniversary was commemorated by thousands of people at the cemetery of Kerman, where he is regarded as a martyr of the revolution.

Last week, the Iranian regime claimed that the attacks by Hamas against Israel were a “revenge” for Soleimani’s assassination.

Ramzan Sharif, the spokesman of the Revolutionary Guard, said that “the ‘Flood of Al Aqsa’ (the name of the Hamas operation) was one of the revenges for the killing of Soleimani by the US and the Zionists”.

However, Hamas rejected the Iranian claim.

“We refute what was said by the spokesman of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran, Ramzan Sharif, about the operation ‘Flood of Al Aqsa’”, the terrorist group said in a statement.

“We have repeatedly stated the motives and reasons for the operation, the main one being the serious threats against the Al Aqsa mosque”, the statement added, citing the Palestinian news agency Maan. It also stressed that “every action by the Palestinian resistance is a response to the occupation and the aggression (by the Israeli authorities) against the Palestinian people and their sacred places”.

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