Sun, 21 Oct 2018
28
Riyadh

At least 24 people have been killed in an attack on a military parade in Iran, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA.

State television said gunmen opened fire at the event in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on September 22, targeting a stand where Iranian officials were gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the country's 1980-88 war with Iraq.

It was unclear whether elite Revolutionary Guard members were among the fatalities. The semiofficial Tasnim news agency said at least eight Revolutionary Guard members had been killed.

IRNA said two alleged attackers had been detained.

Earlier, IRNA said a woman and a child were wounded in the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the attackers were 'terrorists recruited, trained, armed, and paid by a foreign regime,' but did not elaborate.

He blamed regional countries and their 'US masters' for the attack, adding that Iran would respond 'swiftly and decisively.'

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province. The province in the past has seen Arab separatists attack oil pipelines.

Earlier reports described the attackers as "Takfiri gunmen," a term used in the past to describe Sunni Muslim militants.

The semiofficial Fars news agency said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

ISNA said an unnamed spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards blamed Arab nationalists backed by Saudi Arabia for the attack.

Tensions between traditional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have increased in recent years, with the two countries supporting opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon.

Attacks on the military are rare in Iran.

Last year, in the first deadly attack claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 people were killed at the parliament and at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first leader of the Islamic Republic.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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