Gunmen and suicide bombers carried out coordinated attacks on Iran's Parliament and the tomb of Iranian Revolution leader Ruhollah Khomeini on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people. Around 39 people have been wounded in the attacks, confirmed the head of Iran's emergency medical services. Iran's Parliament was in session as the attacks unfolded, with live footage showing members continuing with routine business even as gun battles were reported in surrounding office buildings.
#BREAKING 12 killed, 39 wounded in Tehran attacks: emergency chief
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 7, 2017
The attacks, which lasted for over three hours, began when assailants armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed the Parliament building. One of the attackers later blew himself up on the fourth floor of the building. Four assailants, who were reportedly disguised as women, were later killed by security forces. Speaker Ali Larijani dismissed the attacks, saying they were a "trivial matter" and that security forces were dealing with them.
Police helicopters circled over the Parliament building and all phone lines from inside were disconnected. The ISNA news agency said all Parliament's entrance and exits were closed and that lawmakers and reporters were ordered to remain in place inside the chamber. Soon after the attack, a suicide bomber and other assailants targeted the shrine located just outside Tehran.
An official at Khomeini's mausoleum in south Tehran said "three or four" people had entered via the western entrance and opened fire, killing the gardener and wounding several people. The shrine is about 20 kilometres from the Iranian Parliament and contains the body of Khomeini, who led the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The Islamic State claimed the attack, marking the first time it has taken responsibility for an attack in Iran.
A 24-second video released the Islamic State's Aamaq news agency purports to show the siege. The video, circulated online, shows a gunman and a bloody, lifeless body of a man lying on the ground next to a desk. A voice on the video praises God and says in Arabic: "Do you think we will leave? We will remain, God willing." Another voice repeats the same words. Press TV quoted Iranian minister Mehdi Kiaee as saying that the situation is under control and security forces are working to restore calm in Parliament. "The atmosphere is tense. It is a blow to Rouhani. How can four armed men enter the Parliament, where a very tight security has always been in place?" asked a senior official. Russia condemned the twin attacks on Wednesday. "Moscow decisively condemns such terrorist attacks," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that "the continuation of a series of terror attacks again underlines the need for coordinated actions in the fight against terror and IS." The UAE also condemned the attacks. "Our position on terrorism is very clear ... Any terrorist attack in any country, in any capital, directed at innocent people is something that the UAE abhors and the UAE condemns", state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said. During the Iran attack, Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy recalled the bravery of Indian soldiers.
In the Iran Parliament Attack and hostage taking we are reminded of the bravery and martyrdom of Sansad's Watch & Ward & CRPF jawans — Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) June 7, 2017
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to her Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif and condemned terror strikes on institutions of democracy and spirituality. Pakistan also condemned the attack. "The government of Pakistan has strongly condemned Wednesday's terrorist attacks on Iranian Parliament and mausoleum of Imam Khomeini in which, reportedly, precious lives of innocent people were lost," Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement.
Qatar's foreign ministry released a statement condemning the attack. "The State of Qatar has condemned and denounced the two attacks which took place in Iranian capital Tehran and left many people killed and injured," read the statement. Qatar also expressed its condolences "to the government and people of Iran".
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Jun 07, 2017 05:20 pm | Updated Date: Jun 07, 2017 08:35 pm