Twin Attacks Hit Iran's Parliament And Khomeini Mausoleum; ISIS Claims Responsibility
Two teams of attackers used gunfire and explosives to strike Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran on Wednesday, according to state media. The twin attacks killed at least 12 people and wounded 42 others.
"Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari said that the terrorists had entered the parliament in [women's] dress," Iran's state news agency reports. It adds that a female assailant detonated herself outside the mausoleum.
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry says it foiled a third attack and is asking people to avoid public transportation, state broadcaster IRIB reports.
The Islamic State, via its Amaq News Agency, claimed responsibility for the attacks, NPR's Alison Meuse reports.
Alison translated the extremist group's message to: "Fighters from the Islamic State have attacked the Khomeini shrine and the parliament building in central Tehran."
The message quotes an ISIS "security source," which Alison says is typical for such claims.
In an unusual move, the group also released a short video that it said was taken by one of the attackers inside parliament. In it, a gunman is seen leaving an office area where a man lies wounded and not moving on the floor. A security siren and gunfire are heard as men yell in Arabic.
At the parliament building, four attackers reached the interior, where they shot at security guards, according to IRIB. It says one of the attackers exploded a suicide vest inside the building, though other local news agencies said the explosion may have been caused by grenades thrown by the attackers.
The second attack — at the shrine of Khomeini, the nation's first supreme leader — came within an hour of the assault on the legislature. Assailants reportedly killed a security guard and wounded 12 other people, and a suicide bomber also detonated an explosive vest. Four attackers were said to have targeted the shrine.
Despite the violence at Iran's parliament Wednesday morning, lawmakers returned to business by the afternoon. Officials say the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps helped security forces control the situation.
"As you know, some coward terrorists infiltrated a building in Majlis [Parliament], but they were seriously confronted," Speaker Ali Larijani said. "This is a minor issue but reveals that the terrorists pursue troublemaking."
The U.S. State Department offered condolences to victims and their families, saying in a statement, "The depravity of terrorism has no place in a peaceful, civilized world."
Iran is deeply involved in the fight against ISIS, both in Iraq and Syria, and along with Russia is a major backer of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
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