DUBAI (Reuters) – Gunmen fired on a army parade in southwestern Iran on Saturday, killing 11 members of the Revolutionary Guards, the semi-official Tasnim information company reported, in one of many worst assaults on the elite pressure.State tv stated the assault, which wounded greater than 30 folks, focused a stand the place Iranian officers have been gathered to observe an annual occasion marking the beginning of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 warfare with Iraq.
A basic view of the assault in the course of the army parade in Ahvaz, Iran September 22, 2018. Tasnim Information Company/through REUTERS
A video distributed to Iranian media confirmed troopers crawling on the bottom as gunfire blazed of their course. One soldier picked up a gun and obtained to his ft as ladies and youngsters fled for his or her lives.
Ali Hosein Hoseinzadeh, deputy governor in Khuzestan province, was quoted as saying the loss of life toll was anticipated to rise. A type of killed was a journalist.
The bloodshed struck a blow to safety in OPEC oil producer Iran, which has been comparatively steady in contrast with neighboring Arab international locations which have confronted upheaval for the reason that 2011 uprisings throughout the area.
There was no quick declare of accountability for the assault in Iran’s southwest.
State tv blamed “takfiri components”, a reference to Sunni Muslim militants, for the assault. Ahvaz is within the middle of Khuzestan province, the place there have been sporadic protests by the Arab minority in primarily Shi’ite Iran.
Overseas Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif blamed the bloodshed on “regional terror sponsors”, language that normally refers to Iran’s enemies Saudi Arabia and Israel, and “their U.S. masters”, and vowed that Tehran would reply decisively.
A video on state tv’s web site confirmed confused troopers on the scene of the assault. Standing in from of the stand, one requested: “The place did they arrive from?” One other responded: “From behind us.”
4 militants carried out the assault and two of them have been killed, in keeping with ISNA. There was no declare of accountability for the assault within the metropolis of Ahvaz.
Iran was holding related parades in a number of cities together with the capital Tehran and the port of Bandar Abbas on the Gulf.
“Taking pictures started by a number of gunmen from behind the stand in the course of the parade. There are a number of killed and injured,” a correspondent advised state tv.
The semi-official information company Mehr stated additional capturing broke out as a number of the attackers who managed to flee have been being chased.
ISNA stated an unnamed spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards blamed Arab nationalists backed by Saudi Arabia for the assault.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have surged lately, with the 2 international locations supporting reverse sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political events in Iraq and Lebanon.
Assaults on the army are uncommon in Iran.
Final yr, within the first lethal assault claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 folks have been killed on the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first supreme chief of the Islamic Republic.
Reporting by Dubai newsroom, writing by Michael Georgy, enhancing by Mark Heinrich