Twin Attacks In Tehran

Two attacks claimed by the Islamic State have occurred in Iran’s capital, Tehran. Iranian officials say a third attack was attempted but prevented. The attacks were on the parliament building and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum. Following hours of intermittent gunfire, and a suicide bomb detonation, roughly twelve people were killed with many more injured.

If the Islamic State did orchestrate these attacks, they would be the first IS attacks in Iran. Iran has been active in fighting the Islamic State, and it appears that IS has little support in what BBC News notes is a “predominantly Shia country.” However, there are reports that the Islamic State has recently been attempting to reach the Sunni minority in Iran by increasing their Farsi propaganda.

According to BBC News, gunmen entered parliament with  Kalashnikovs on Wednesday morning. They are reported to have entered the building through a public entrance; the gunmen hid their identities by dressing as women. According to the Iranian authorities, there was no hostage situation inside of the building; however, pictures captured of the event appear to show children being lowered out of the building’s windows. Other images of the scene show the building surrounded by security forces. Reports from the Iranian media say that security forces killed four gunmen inside of the parliament building.

The gunmen opened fire in south Tehran at Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum at around 10:40 local time (6:40 GMT). According to the governor of Tehran, one attacker detonated a suicide vest, and another was killed by security forces. BBC News reported images from the scene showing grenades and magazines for automatic weapons. These items are presumed to be recovered from the body of an attacker. Reports suggest that the suicide bomber was a woman. According to Emergency Services Chief, Pir Hossein Kolivand, approximately forty people were injured in the two attacks.

Before this attack, Iranian intelligence agencies claim to have stopped multiple IS attacks in their country. This would be the first successful IS attack in Iran. The Islamic State has not only claimed the attack but has released footage apparently from the inside of the parliament building to support their claim. BBC News reports that an Iranian MP confirmed that the footage is of his office and one of his employees lying dead on the floor. BBC News notes that “by mounting a successful attack, IS could claim a major coup against a traditional foe that other Sunni jihadist groups, including its rival al-Qaeda, have failed to target in the past.”

Jennifer Brown
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