• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Iran explosions at Qasem Soleimani commemoration in Kerman kills dozens


Jan 3, 2024


BEIRUT — At least 70 people were killed and dozens injured Wednesday in two blasts that struck the central Iranian city of Kerman, emergency services said. Thousands of mourners had gathered there to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian military leader who was killed in a U.S. strike in 2020.

A spokesman for the country’s emergency department was quoted by Iran’s state-run news agency as saying 73 people were killed and 170 were injured.

The deputy governor of Kerman, the slain general’s hometown, said the incident was a “terrorist attack,” according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA. The first explosion was near Soleimani’s burial place, and the second was near the shrine.

Before the blasts, the state-run live broadcast had shown thousands of mourners filling the street, moving calmly in a procession. After the attack, it broadcast video of people running frantically and men wearing EMT uniforms surging into the crowd.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Soleimani oversaw a network of Iranian-supported proxy groups across the Middle East that helped project Tehran’s military and political power in places such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The blasts Wednesday came as Iran-backed militant groups are involved in an intensifying confrontation with Israel and its principal backer, the United States, during Israel’s war in Gaza.

Kareem Fahim contributed reporting from Istanbul.


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