At Least 95 Dead in Iranian Bombing Honoring Soleimani
Nearly 100 individuals lost their lives in what local authorities and a senior White House official are characterizing as a terrorist attack during an event commemorating former Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Wednesday.
Thousands had gathered at Soleimani's gravesite in Kerman to observe the fourth anniversary of his death when two bombs detonated, causing chaos and casualties.
At least 95 killed in Iran ‘terrorist attack’ at event honoring general taken out in US drone strike, Tehran and WH official says https://t.co/BXR2I6G5UB
— AHRC-USA NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC-UN (@AHRCUSA) January 4, 2024
The initial explosion took place approximately 700 meters from Soleimani's grave, followed by a second explosion a kilometer away, according to Iranian national media.
Graphic video footage shared online revealed the panic among the crowds and the response of emergency crews.
The second blast, occurring about 15 minutes after the first, is indicative of a tactic often employed by terrorist groups to target emergency responders and maximize casualties.
The explosives were reportedly placed in suitcases and detonated remotely. A local official stated, "The blasts were caused by terrorist attacks," citing gas canisters exploding on the road leading to the cemetery.
A senior White House official remarked that the modus operandi suggested a terrorist attack, resembling tactics previously employed by ISIS.
The death toll initially rose to 103 but was later revised to 95 after officials identified repeat names on the list of victims. The number may change as many of the 211 wounded individuals are in critical condition.
Following the incident, Iran's head of judiciary, Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, pledged to find and punish the perpetrators.
He stated, "The agents and perpetrators of this grievous crime will undoubtedly be punished."
No group has claimed responsibility and potential culprits could include exile groups, militant organizations, or state actors with enmity toward Iran, which supports entities like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Yemen's Houthi rebels.