Islamic State warns of more attacks in Iran, says ‘caliphate will not miss a chance to spill their blood’
Islamic State said in a statement that five of its fighters were responsible for a raid on Iran’s parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini.Updated: Jun 08, 2017 00:41 IST
Islamic State said in a statement on Wednesday that five of its fighters were responsible for a raid on Iran’s parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini, using assault rifles, grenades, and suicide vests, and killing and injuring almost 60 people before dying.
The Sunni militant group also threatened Iran’s majority Shi’ite population with more attacks, saying “the caliphate will not miss a chance to spill their blood” until Sharia law is implemented.
Islamic State has often urged its fighters to attack Iranian targets and lambasted “heretic” Shi’ite Iran for helping the Syrian and Iraqi governments battle Islamic State, which considers Shi’ites to be infidels
In recent years, Tehran has been heavily involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State, but had remained untouched by IS violence around the world. Iran has also battled Saudi-backed Sunni groups in both countries.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard indirectly blamed Saudi Arabia for the attacks. A statement issued Wednesday evening stopped short of alleging direct Saudi involvement but called it “meaningful” that the attacks followed Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he strongly asserted Washington’s support for Riyadh.
The statement said Saudi Arabia “constantly supports” terrorists including the Islamic State group, adding that the IS claim of responsibility “reveals (Saudi Arabia’s) hand in this barbaric action.”
The “spilled blood of the innocent will not remain unavenged,” the Revolutionary Guard statement said.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, used the attacks to defend Tehran’s involvement in wars abroad. He told a group of students that if “Iran had not resisted,” it would have faced even more troubles.
“The Iranian nation will go forward,” he added.
The violence began in midmorning when assailants with Kalashnikov rifles and explosives stormed the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress. The siege lasted for hours, and one of the attackers blew himself up inside, according to Iran’s state TV.
Images circulating in Iranian media showed gunmen held rifles near the windows of the complex. One showed a toddler being handed through a first-floor window to safety outside as an armed man looks on.
The IS group’s Aamaq news agency released a 24-second video purportedly shot inside the complex, showing a bloody, lifeless body on the floor next to a desk.
First Published: Jun 07, 2017 21:42 IST