Attacks reported inside Iran's parliament and Khomeini shrine
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 08, 2017,
Jun 08, 2017, 5:21
"For these two actions to happen... after this meeting means that the United States and Saudi regimes had ordered their stooges to do this", said Mohammad Hossein Nejat, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards intelligence branch, according to the Fars news agency. Quoting sources on the ground, Tasnim news agency reported that seven people, including a guard, were killed.
A boy is evacuated during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran on June 7.
Speaker Ali Larijani downplayed the events, describing them as a "minor issue".
But it was later confirmed that security forces had killed all four gunmen. Several people were injured in that incident.
Hours before Wednesday's attacks, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir characterized Iran as the leading sponsor of terrorism and called for action to be taken against it over its destabilizing actions in the region, where it is involved in Lebanon and Yemen, as well as Syria and Iraq. BBC reports that the suicide bomber was a woman, but the Guardian has cautioned that the attacker may have been simply dressed as a woman.
CNN has not independently verified the number of victims and it was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included the suicide bombers.
The rare attacks were the first claimed by the hardline Sunni Muslim militant group inside in the tightly controlled Shi'ite Muslim country.
Pakistan has condemned twin attacks on Iran's parliament and a shrine to its revolutionary leader. The shrine is considered one of the most sacred spots in the country.
A few kilometres away, Ayat, Imam Khomeini's shrine, frequented by Iranians including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, came under attack, as three or four gunmen stormed the monument and started firing indiscriminately. After the turbulent years of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the Iran-Iraq wars of 1982, Iran has been a relatively peaceful and stable nation in an increasingly unstable region.
The powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps released a statement shortly after Wednesday's attack implicating both Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
Iranian media earlier reported a shooting inside the parliament building that wounded a security guard, without providing further details. The semi-official ISNA news agency said all entrances and exit gates at parliament were closed and that lawmakers and reporters were ordered to remain in place inside the chamber during the siege.
Gunshots could be heard in several videos uploaded online by eyewitnesses as security forces tried to flush out the assailants.
Photos showed people climbing down from exterior windows of the building as they tried to escape. It was at first unclear who the armed man was. Before the security forces entered the building, ISIS' Amaq News Agency released footage of the attack. Fars reported that one person was arrested at the tomb. "With the help of a taxi driver, I reached a nearby alley". The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group, which Syria routinely claims, without evidence, is backed by Western and other powers that want to remove President Bashar Assad from power. Tuesday's attack was the second time Iranian paramilitaries have attempted to breach the zone in as many months.