Iran: 15 killed, 40 wounded in attack on Muslim shrine in Shiraz
By Syed Zafar Mahdi
TEHRAN, Iran (AA): At least 15 people have been killed and 40 wounded after a group of armed assailants opened indiscriminate fire at a popular shrine in Iran’s southern Fars province on Wednesday, according to local media. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram Channel, according to Reuters.
The incident took place at around 5.45 pm local time (1415GMT) when three heavily-armed men attacked the Shah Cheragh shrine in the historic city of Shiraz in the Fars province.
According to local reports, two attackers were immediately apprehended by local security guards and search is underway for the third attacker who apparently managed to flee from the scene.
The provincial police commander told media people that the attacker opened fire at pilgrims inside the shrine compound and was soon overpowered by security guards and taken into custody.
A CCTV footage released by the police showed an armed man entering the shrine and shooting at people.
Although the details are still unclear, reports said a woman and two children were among the victims.
The police commander of Fars province identified a person as the perpetrator of this terrorist act, who has been arrested, reports Fars News.
The Chief Justice of Fars province also announced that the arrested person was admitted to the hospital and underwent surgery due to his injuries.
An informed source told Fars reporter that the name of the perpetrator is Hamed Badakhshan, who is 23 years old.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has strongly condemned the attack saying the “evil act” will “not go unanswered.”
In a statement late on Wednesday, Raisi said the country’s security forces will identify the planners and perpetrators of the attack and give a “regretful response.”
Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmed Wahedi also condemned the attack and said 13 people were killed, while a deputy for political and security affairs at Fars governor’s office said 15 people were killed and 19 others injured in the attack.
He said the stream of unrest in Iran in recent weeks is moving in “dangerous directions” and that terrorists are “taking advantage of the unrest.”
In his reaction, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Muhammad Baqir Qalibaf said the “enemies failed to achieve their ominous goals” so they “resorted to the method of the Takfiri terrorists.”
Provincial governor said the attacker intended to target the congregational prayers, but the doors to the main prayer hall were shut by the shrine staff.
Those injured in the attack have been transferred to local hospitals, and some of them are believed to be in critical condition.
Shah Cheragh shrine, which houses the grave of a revered Shia scholar, is a popular pilgrim destination in southern Iran, thronged by both local and foreign pilgrims.
It came amid widespread protests across Iran over the death of a young Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody last month.
Wednesday marked 40 days since her death and saw fresh protests in several cities, including Tehran, amid heavy deployment of police on the streets.
There were also reports of clashes between police and protesters in her native town of Sanandaj in western Iran during a ceremony to mark the 40th day since her death.
Additional report from Fars News
[Map of Iran by CIA Factbook/Public Domain]
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