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Iran mourns those slain in Islamic State-claimed suicide blasts as death toll rises to 89

Iran mourns those slain in Islamic State-claimed suicide blasts as death toll rises to 89

Iran on Friday mourned those slain in an Islamic State group-claimed suicide bombing targeting a commemoration for a general slain in a U.S. drone strike in 2020, as the death toll in the attack rose to at least 89.

Despite the militants claiming responsibility for the attack, the wider tensions shaking the Middle East during Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip became intertwined with the funeral in the usually peaceful city of Kerman, about 820 kilometers (510 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran.

The top commander of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard linked the attack to the U.S. The gathered crowd shouted: “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” “If you are a man, fight with us. Why do you kill oppressed and defenseless women and children?” Gen. Hossein Salami said.

Iranian state television also sought to link America to the attack. At one point, it re-broadcast comments from 2016 from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, who wrongly accused then-President Barack Obama of being the “founder” of the extremist group.

Critics have blamed Obama’s decision to pull troops from Iraq in 2011 for allowing the group, once an affiliate of al-Qaida, to thrive and ultimately hold vast swathes of Iraq and Syria in its self-declared caliphate by 2014. U.S. troops under both Obama and Trump then battled alongside allied forces to retake that territory.

In Wednesday’s attack, one suicide bomber killed himself, then another 20 minutes later as people and emergency workers tried to help the wounded. The attack targeted a commemoration for Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, killed in 2020 by a U.S. drone strike as he led its expeditionary Quds Force.

Soleimani had been part of the Iranian response to the Islamic State group in Syria, while focusing on keeping embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in power. He also had extensive ties to proxy groups around the wider Mideast, including Hamas. But the U.S., which killed Soleimani as part of wider tensions over its collapsed nuclear deal with world powers, saw Soleimani as the mastermind behind deadly roadside bombings targeting American soldiers in Iraq.

The two attacks killed at least 89 people and wounded about 280 others, authorities said Friday in updating the death toll.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack Thursday in a statement that named the two bombers and described it as part of a new campaign linked to Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip.

मल्टिमिडिया ग्यालरी

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