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US MASTERS BEHIND ATTACK: ZARIF

Gunmen hit Iranian military parade; 29 killed, many injured

TEHRAN, September 22, 2018

Gunmen attacked an annual Iranian military parade on Saturday in the country's oil-rich southwest, killing at least 29 people, which included both military personnel and civilians and wounding 53 others, reported Bloomberg, citing local mediapersons.
 
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in Ahvaz, which saw gunfire spray into a crowd of marching Guardsmen, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser. 
 
The state TV reporter said the gunfire came from a park behind a riser. The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.
 
Videos of the attack published online and by local media outlets show scenes of chaos as soldiers and civilians flee gunfire and attempt to treat the wounded. Some images show bloodied soldiers in military fatigues, and ambulance sirens can be heard wailing in the background, reported The Washington Post.
 
"Terrorists began shooting from a long distance while inside the park, at the armed forces as well as civilians watching the parade," Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarch, a spokesman for the Iranian armed forces told MEHR, another Iranian news agency.
 
Three of the attackers were gunned down during clashes with the security forces and one other arrested, news agencies reported.
 
The separatist group the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz claimed responsibility for this attack, reported CNN.
 
"The terrorists disguised as Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basiji (volunteer) forces opened fire to the authority and people from behind the stand during the parade," Governor of Khuzestan Gholam-Reza Shariati said, according to IRNA.
 
Khuzestan Governor Gholamreza Shariati told state-run IRNA news agency that two gunmen were killed and other two had been arrested. More than 20 people had been wounded, including a woman and a child. 
 
Iran had faced a bloody assault last year from the Islamic State group, while Arab separatists in the region have attacked oil pipelines there in the past, it added.
 
State television aired footage of the aftermath of the assault on Ahvaz's Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard, which like many other places around the country saw an annual parade marking the start of Iran's long 1980s war with Iraq. 
 
The images included paramedics trying to help one person in military fatigues as other armed security personnel shouted at each other. The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack's aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.
 
A local news agency in Khuzestan province, of which Ahvaz is the capital, aired grainy mobile phone footage showing parade goers fleeing as soldiers lay flat on the ground. Gunfire rang out in the background.
 
"Security forces have restored security in the area but the parade has totally been disrupted," a reporter on the scene for Iranian state television said by phone in a live broadcast. "People have been killed but we have no figures yet."
 
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter blamed regional countries and their "U.S. masters" for the attack and warned that "Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives." He said children and journalists were casualties in the attack, reported Bloomberg.
 
Zarif added that the gunmen were "terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime." He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there in the past, it added.



Tags: killed | gunmen | iran military parade |

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