At least 103 people killed in explosion near Qasim Suleimani’s grave in Iran

(CNN) — At least 103 people were killed and 141 injured after two explosions near the tomb of military commander Qassem Soleimani in the Iranian city of Kerman on Wednesday, according to state media, in what authorities called a terrorist attack. ,

The first explosion occurred 700 meters away from Soleimani’s tomb and the second 1 kilometer away, while pilgrims were visiting the site, IRNA said.

Four years ago this Wednesday, Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike on the orders of former President Donald Trump at Baghdad International Airport.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Video published on Iranian state media showed large crowds fleeing the area after the explosion.

Soleimani, one of Iran’s most powerful men, led the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, an elite unit that runs Iran’s operations abroad and is considered a foreign terrorist organization by the United States. Is.

Ambulances left the blast site.

The Pentagon says Soleimani and his troops were “responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the injuries of thousands more.”

Soleimani, known as Iran’s “shadow commander” – who had led the Quds Force since 1998 – masterminded Iranian military operations in Iraq and Syria.

This explosion occurs at a tense moment in the area

The alleged attack came at a time of heightened tension in the region, as Israel fights a three-month war against Hamas in Gaza, which began after the terrorist group attacked Israel on October 7.

The war has killed more than 23,000 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run enclave’s health ministry, and there have been clashes between Israel and beyond Gaza, often involving Iranian-backed militias.

A senior Hamas leader was killed in an explosion in a Beirut suburb on Tuesday, which a US official told CNN was the work of Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement, but Hamas and Hezbollah, the militant group that controls the suburb, have blamed Israel and vowed revenge.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will deliver a speech this Wednesday, his third since the war began. This speech was announced before the Beirut attack.

Last week, Iran and several of its armed allies accused Israel of killing a top Iranian commander in Syria and vowed to retaliate. Israel did not comment on this matter.

Israel has accused Tehran of financing and arming Hamas. Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Galant said last month that his country is in a “war on multiple fronts”, under attack from seven places, including Iran. “We have already responded and taken action on six of them,” he said.

The United States has also recently increased its military involvement in the Middle East. Last month, the military launched airstrikes against Iran-backed Hezbollah Kataib and “affiliated groups” in Iraq after three US soldiers were injured in an attack.

And last week, U.S. helicopters sank three boats belonging to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea after shooting at them, killing those aboard. It was the first time the United States had killed members of the rebel group since tensions erupted early last year.

The White House said it is not looking for any major conflict. The Houthis have launched several attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea in response to Israel’s attack on Hamas, disrupting trade in one of the world’s most vital waterways.

With information from Rob Pichetta and Nectar Gan.


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