Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani vowed a “crushing response” after gunmen shot dead at least 29 people including women and children on Saturday in an attack on an Iranian military parade.
Daesh militant group claimed to have carried out the rare assault in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, while Iranian officials accused “a foreign regime” backed by the United States of being behind it.
Daesh militants said via their propaganda mouthpiece Amaq that “Daesh fighters attacked a gathering of Iranian forces in Ahvaz.”
State television gave a casualty toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded, while the official news agency Irna said those killed included women and children among spectators at the rally. Many of the wounded were in critical condition.
Armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the dead included a young girl and a former serviceman in a wheelchair.
Three attackers were killed at the scene, he said, and the fourth died later of his injuries, he told state television.
Khuzestan deputy governor Ali-Hossein Hosseinzadeh told Isna that “eight to nine” troops were among those killed, as well as a journalist.
In a message of condolence to Russia’s close regional ally, President Vladimir Putin said he was “appalled by this bloody crime” which was a reminder of the “necessity of an uncompromising battle against terrorism”.
Syria, another ally, also condemned the attacks, standing in “full sympathy and solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran”, said a Syrian foreign ministry official.