ISIS Claims Responsibility for Deadly Attack in Iran

Terror group may be trying to exploit the chaos of the Israeli-Hamas war
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 4, 2024 1:30 PM CST
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Deadly Attack in Iran
Families of victims of the explosions gather at the courtyard of a hospital in the city of Kerman, about 510 miles southeast of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024.   (Sare Tajalli, ISNA via AP)

The Islamic State claimed responsibility Thursday for two suicide bombings in Iran on Wednesday that claimed more than 80 lives. Experts who follow the group confirmed that the statement came from the extremists, who likely hope to take advantage of the chaos gripping the region amid Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, per the AP. Wednesday's attack in Kerman killed at least 84 people and wounded an additional 284. It targeted a ceremony honoring Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike in 2020.

On Thursday, chunks of asphalt appeared missing from the roadway where one bomb went off, suggesting the bomb had been packed with shrapnel to increase its deadly effects. Another spot still bore congealed blood from the wounded. ISIS identified the two attackers as Omar al-Mowahed and Seif-Allah al-Mujahed, saying the men carried out the attacks with explosive vests. It also used disparaging language when discussing Shiites, which the group views as heretics.

"This falls under the modus operandi of (ISIS), especially since it was such a mass casualty attack," said Aaron Y. Zelin, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "They are kind of like the Joker. They want to see the world burn. They don't care how it happens as long as it benefits them." The claim of responsibility came as the extremists separately called on supporters around the world to avenge the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip by attacking Christians and Jews. The group also criticized Palestinian factions for allying with Iran, saying that Tehran has taken advantage of the situation to appear as the defender of Palestinians.

(More ISIS stories.)

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