The Guardian

Iran announces death toll from two IS bombings rises to 91

A bombing in southern Iran claimed by the Islamic State group killed 91 people, state media reported on Saturday, with two others injured, raising the death toll earlier.

Two explosions in Kerman on Wednesday struck a crowd attending a memorial service near the grave of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020. .

“Two people were injured, including a child who was admitted to the intensive care unit, bringing the death toll from the attack to 91,” state news agency IRNA quoted local health officials as saying.

The attack was the deadliest in Iran since 1978, when more than 370 people were killed in an arson attack while trapped inside a movie theater in Abadan, southwest Iran, according to AFP archives.

Islamic State (IS) jihadist militants claimed responsibility for the explosion on Thursday. The statement said two IS members “activated an explosive belt” during a “large gathering of apostates near the tomb of their leader.”

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence said on Friday that “one of the suicide bombers” was a “Tajik national”, but the identity of the second attacker has not yet been determined.

The ministry announced that at least 11 suspects were arrested in six Iranian provinces in the attack.

Funerals for the victims were held in Kerman on Saturday in the presence of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Hossein Salami.

Before his death, Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force, the military's external operations arm. He has been praised domestically for his role in the fight against IS in neighboring Iraq and Syria.


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