Two bombs exploded on Wednesday the 3rd of January near the tomb of Qasem Soleimani during the fourth anniversary of his assassination by the U.S, killing over 100 people according to Iran’s state media.
The bombs detonated close to a procession near the Saheb al-Zaman mosque in southern Kerman, with dozens of people wounded and rushed to hospitals according to Irib.
The incident has since been called a “terrorist attack” according to Kerman’s deputy governor, as cited by Irib. However, as of yet no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Investigations are currently underway by Iranian agencies, with the major suspects being the Islamic State (IS), Arab separatists, and other major Sunni jihadist groups, as they have been the major culprits behind similar attacks in recent years.
Qasem Soleimani was killed by the U.S in 2020 via a drone strike in neighbouring Iraq, and shook the political world of Iran to the core as Soleimani was second only to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
He was the leader of the Quds Force, which is the overseas operations agency of the Iranian government, and thus was in charge of furthering Iranian goals and plans in the region.
Under his leadership the Quds Force gave numerous weapons, and considerable funding, intelligence, and logistical support to Iran's allies, and even armed groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
This caused Soleimani to become one of the highest threats to U.S international control, leading to then-U.S President Donald Trump ordering his assassination and describing Soleimani as “the number one terrorist anywhere in the world”.
This bombing came soon after the deputy leader of Hamas, who was backed and funded by Iran, was killed in an apparent Israeli drone strike in Lebanon, causing a major escalation of tensions in the region.
According to footage taken by state TV, hundreds of people had come to pay respects on the east of the general’s hometown of Kerman. The first bomb went off at 14:50 local time, approximately 700m from the Garden of Martyrs cemetery around the Saheb al-Zaman mosque.
The second bomb exploded around 15 minutes later, but approximately 1 kilometre away from the cemetery.
It was also reported by the Tasnim news agency that "two bags carrying bombs" were apparently detonated "by remote control".
Witnesses interviewed by Isla news said, “we were walking towards the cemetery when a car suddenly stopped behind us and a waste bin containing a bomb exploded”, and “we only heard the sound of the explosion and saw people falling”.
In a statement put out by local emergency services, 103 people have been confirmed to be killed with another 141 wounded by the explosions.
Among the civilians who died was also at least one paramedic who was sent to aid the wounded of the first explosion and was killed by the second blast.
Despite the level of destruction, Soleimani’s tomb seems to have been left undamaged, as the bombs went off far enough away from the site, and not in the busiest areas.
Edited by Chloe Mansola
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