OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:44 PM – Thursday, January 4, 2024
In one of the largest terrorist attacks to hit Iran in decades, Wednesday’s suicide explosions targeted a memorial service for an Iranian commander killed in a 2020 U.S. drone strike.
The attacks came while the Middle East as a whole is still in a state of tension. The Islamic State organization, ISIS, claimed credit for the attacks on Thursday.
Experts who monitor the organization attested to the fact that the message, which was reportedly shared online by jihadists. These individuals most likely wanted to capitalize on the instability in the region due to the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict in the Gaza Strip.
The incident in Kerman on Wednesday left at least 84 people dead and 284 injured.
It was directed towards a memorial service for Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani, who is revered as a national hero by theocrats in the nation and whom the U.S. military considers a dangerous enemy who helped terrorists kill American soldiers in Iraq.
The road where one bomb detonated on Wednesday seemed to have patches of missing asphalt, indicating that the device had been loaded with shrapnel to maximize its lethal power. Congealed blood from the injured remained at another location.
“The moment I turned around to tell my husband’s sister, ‘Let’s go to the square,’ the bomb exploded,” said 38-year-old Mahdieh Sazmand from her hospital bed. “If we were just 10 steps further, we would have been right over the bomb.”
According to the Islamic State organization, Omar al-Mowahed and Seif-Allah al-Mujahed were the two assailants. The report went on to say that the men used explosive vests to carry out the attacks. Additionally, it disparaged Shiites, whom the Islamic State organization considers to be heretics, in their discussion.
The accusation did not specify which regional branch of the radicals carried out the attack, unlike previous statements that did. However, according to Aaron Y. Zelin, a senior scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the most recent allegation was directly from an account connected to the group, whereas some earlier claims did not identify the regional arm.
According to Zelin, the organization probably hoped that Iran would strike Israel, expanding its war on Hamas into a regional crisis that the Islamic State would exploit.
“This falls under the modus operandi of IS, especially since it was such a mass casualty attack,” Zelin said. “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.”
A prior attack in June 2017 in Tehran on the Parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum resulted in at least 18 fatalities and over 50 injuries, according to claims made by the Islamic State group.
Additionally, the organization has reported two more attacks.
The terrorist group, which had proclaimed a self-declared caliphate in 2014 and previously controlled a sizable portion of both Iraq and Syria, was eventually driven back by forces headed by the United States.
In the years after, it has launched significant attacks, but it has been chaotic. For example, it is believed that the Islamic State group has become more powerful in neighboring Afghanistan after the Taliban overthrew the Western-backed government there in 2021.
The assertion coincided with the radicals’ separate appeals to followers worldwide to target Christians and Jews in order to exact revenge for the carnage that had occurred in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, the organization attacked Palestinian factions for forming an alliance with Iran, claiming that Tehran is only using the circumstances to project an image of support for the Palestinian people.
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