Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Several dead as suicide bombers, gunmen attack parliament and Khomeini’s shrine in Tehran, Iran (Photos)


Gunmen and suicide bombers have carried out apparently coordinated attacks on Iran’s parliament and the tomb of revolutionary founder Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran, killing a number of people.

Four gunmen burst into Tehran’s parliament complex with rifles and a pistol, and one of the attackers blew himself up on the fourth floor, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, putting the death toll at three.

Tasnim news agency said unconfirmed sources on the ground were reporting that seven people including a guard had been killed. There were further, unconfirmed reports that a number of MPs had been taken hostage.

It is unclear how the attackers got past security checkpoints to entered the parliament building. Police helicopters were circling over the building, entrance and exit gates were closed, and mobile phone lines from inside were disconnected.

Reporters inside the chamber, where a session had been in progress, were ordered to remain there.

Witnesses said the attackers were shooting from the fourth floor of the parliament building down at people in the streets below.

Ebrahim Ghanimi, who was passing by the building when it was attacked, told the Associated Press: “I thought that children were playing with fireworks, but I realised people were hiding and lying down on the streets.”

About half an hour after the initial attack at parliament, three to four people entered the western entrance of Khomeini’s tomb complex and opened fire, before one of the attackers detonated a suicide belt. A security guard and a gardner were reportedly killed, and at least four people injured.

The ILNA agency said security forces were dismantling a bomb at the mausoleum, which is in southern Tehran, about 12 miles from the parliament building.

Iran’s intelligence ministry said it had foiled a third plot and asked people to avoid public transport. State broadcaster Irib quoted the ministry as saying: “Members of a third group were arrested before being able to carry out any attack.”

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks on its Amaq news agency.

"Fighters from the Islamic State (ISIL) attacked the Khomeini mausoleum and the parliament building in Tehran," the Amaq agency said, citing a "security source".

If confirmed, they would be the first assaults by the Sunni Muslim group inside the Shi’ite Muslim country, Reuters reports. 

The attacks, took place less than a month after the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate.

Khomeini launched the Islamic revolution in 1979 and was Iran’s leader for 10 years.

More photos below..

 Source: Guardian UK/AFP

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