Several killed as gunmen attack military parade in Iran

Leroy Wright
September 22, 2018

The official IRNA news agency said a woman and a child were among the wounded.

State television blamed "takfiri elements", a reference to Islamist militants, for the attack in Ahvaz, the centre of Khuzestan province, which has been the site of sporadic protests by Iran's Arab minority.

The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away on Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard in Ahvaz.

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 parade in the southwestern city was being held to mark the anniversary of the start of the eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 1980.

So far, 11 people, including a correspondent, have been reported dead and 30 others injured in the attack.

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He said that children and journalists were casualties in the attack.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, which has seen multiple attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists in the past.

The Revolutionary Guards are the most powerful and heavily armed military force in the Islamic Republic and also have a vast stake worth billions of dollars in the economy. The Guards also play a major role in Iran's regional interests in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Saturday's attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.

The bloodshed struck a blow to security in OPEC oil producer Iran, which has been relatively stable compared with neighbouring Arab countries that have faced upheaval since the 2011 uprisings across the region. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the attacks.

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