Iran detains suspects after Islamic State claims deadly blasts

Iran has arrested several suspects in connection with two deadly explosions that killed nearly 100 people and sparked calls for revenge from the mourners.

Iran's interior minister Ahmad Vahidi
Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi. Photo courtesy: Hossein Zohrevand – Tasnim News Agency

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on state TV that some suspects had been detained in relation to the attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 100 people during a memorial for general Qassem Soleimani.

He said: “Our country’s competent intelligence agencies have obtained very good evidence about the elements involved in the terrorist explosions in Kerman and some of those who participated in this incident have been detained.” He did not give more details.

Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi said: “Several people have been detained in five provinces in five cities, who have either supported or been associated with this incident. More information will be revealed in the next few hours”, according to the state news agency.

On Friday, state TV broadcasted the funerals of the victims of two fatal explosions in Iran, which Islamic State claimed responsibility for. The mourners cried over the coffins and shouted “revenge, revenge” in the city of Kerman, where the blasts occurred on Wednesday. These were the most violent attacks in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The explosions killed almost 100 people who were attending a memorial service for General Qassem Soleimani, a military leader who was killed in Iraq in 2020 by a U.S. drone strike.

The region was already tense as the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza continued for almost three months.

Islamic State announced on Thursday that two of its members had blown themselves up with explosive belts in the crowd that had gathered for Soleimani’s memorial in the city in the southeast.

Revolutionary Guards commander Major-General Hossein Salami said at the funeral in Kerman’s Imam Ali religious centre: “We will track you down wherever you are.”

President Ebrahim Raisi said in a televised speech: “Our forces will determine the location and time to respond”.

In 2022, Islamic State said it was behind a lethal attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Iran that resulted in 15 deaths, while previous attacks attributed to Islamic State include two bombings in 2017 that hit Iran’s parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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