Gunmen attack Iran's parliament and Khomeini mausoleum

Gunmen in Tehran opened fire inside Iran's parliament building and near a shrine devoted to Ayatollah Khomeini on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people and injuring another 43, according to Iranian officials.

At least 12 people were killed by the attackers, the head of Iran's emergency department, Pir-Hossein Kolivand, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

The situation at the parliament remains confusing, with some reports of a suicide bomber there, and an ongoing hostage situation - but the BBC can not confirm these.

Heavy gunfire could be heard on videos filmed from outside parliament, and there are reports that a security guard has been killed.

A security guard was killed when four gunmen burst into Tehran's parliament complex, while a gardener was reported dead when several armed assailants entered the grounds of Khomeini's mausoleum in the south of the city, according to the ISNA news agency. The Islamic State, a radical Sunni group, is one of many fighting groups vying for territory in Syria.

Fars said a female suicide attacker blew herself up outside the shrine and published photos showing the explosion.

"Some coward terrorists infiltrated one of the buildings of parliament".

Jaish-ul Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran accuses of links with Al-Qaeda, has carried out several armed attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

An interior ministry official said they were dressed as women and entered through the visitors' entrance.

"The head of the Russian state resolutely condemned these crimes, which had once again corroborated the need to step up worldwide cooperation in fighting terrorism, and confirmed Russia's readiness for further joint actions with its Iranian partners in this area", the statement said.

Reports are coming in of a second suicide bombing at the shrine.

Militant groups are also known to operate in Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and has a large Sunni community. Despite unconfirmed reports of a hostage situation, state television said parliament had resumed, and broadcast footage of what it said was the opening session proceeding normally.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency says the guard was hit in the leg.

Sunni extremists, including the IS, despise Shiite-majority Iran.

However, Fars reported that the suicide bomber was a woman.

He said the security forces around the parliament have besieged the gunmen, expecting that the crisis would be over within hours. It did not provide further details about Wednesday's shooting.

  • Carolyn Briggs