By Mustafa Kamel and Muhammed Kursun and Ibrahim Saleh
TEHRAN (AA): The toll of people killed and injured on Saturday in the terrorist attack targeted a military march in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahwaz [Ahvaz] risen to 29 people killed and 70 people injured, according to Iran’s IRNA official news agency.
Earlier Saturday, Iranian local media reported that, at least 24 people killed and 53 people injured over the attack, explaining that, including members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. A journalist named Yunus Purhulu was among those killed.
“29 people were martyred and 70 others were wounded during the terrorist attack on the Armed Forces’ parades in Ahwaz,” Deputy Governor-General of Khouzestan province Hossein Hosseinzadeh told Fars News Agency on Saturday.
The terrorists fired aimlessly at the crowd watching a military parade staged on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of an eight-year war against Iran.
A woman and a child were among the injured, according to an earlier report by IRNA.
Iranian local media reported that gunmen wearing military uniforms fired at the Iranian forces during a military parade, an attack that lasted for about 10 minutes.
For his part, spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi announced that “three terrorists were killed” on the spot over the attack, while a fourth one who has been wounded “died in hospital”, IRNA reported.
Shekarchi mentioned in an earlier statement that three of the terrorists were killed by security forces while a fourth one has been arrested.
“Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz. Children and journos among casualties. Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
“Those who are the so-called advocates of human rights have to be accountable for the attack,” President Rouhani told reporters prior to his departure to New York, US, earlier Sunday morning where he is to attend the 73rd UN General Assembly, which officially opened on September 18.
Children who were to go to school were killed in the attack, President Rouhani adding, “Iran, undoubtedly, will not give up [following up] the crime.”
Governor-General of Ahvaz Gholamreza Shariati said that the terrorists attacked the bystanders watching the annual Armed Forces’ parades, marking the start of the Sacred Defense Week, commemorating Iranians’ sacrifices during the 8 years of the Iraqi war on Iran in 1980s, in disguise of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij (volunteer) forces, killing and wounding several people, including innocent women and children.
According to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) spokesman Ramezan Sharif said “The attack by some elements of al-Ahvaziya group which is fed by Saudi Arabia, aimed to overshadow the magnificence of the parade by the Iranian armed forces.”
However, the self-proclaimed Daesh terrorist organization claimed latter Saturday its responsibility for the attack through its electronic website “Amaq”.
Through the Amaq website, Daesh claimed that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was attending the targeted military parade.
The website, however, has not published any footage or video for the attack.
Iranian authorities “temporarily” shut down two border crossings with Iraq, according to an Iraqi customs official who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
The two border crossings in question are that Shalamjah (adjacent to Iraq’s Basra governorate) and Al-Shib (adjacent to Iraq’s Maysan governorate).
Additional report by The Muslim News
[Photo: Civilians run away from the street after an armed terrorist attack targeting a military march in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahwaz on September 22, 2018. Photographer: Mehdi Pedramkhoo/AA]