Iran mourns victims of deadly twin bombings

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi joined mourners in Kerman on Friday for the funerals of the 89 people killed in twin blasts claimed by the ISIL, state media said.

Suicide bombings struck crowds in the southern city, where many had gathered on Wednesday to commemorate slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general Qasem Soleimani, on the fourth anniversary of his death in a U.S. drone strike.

The attack killed 89 people, state TV said, raising an earlier toll following the deaths of several of the wounded.

The victims include multiple women and children and at least a dozen Afghan nationals, it said.

Despite the claim of responsibility by the ISIL, Iranian officials have continued to suggest Israeli and U.S. involvement.

ISIL “has disappeared nowadays”, said Revolutionary Guards chief Hossein Salami during the funeral ceremony, arguing the jihadists “only act as mercenaries” for U.S. and Israeli interests.

The U.S. rejected any suggestion that it or its ally Israel were behind the bombings, while Tehran’s arch foe Israel did not comment.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV that “some individuals involved in the attack have been arrested,” without elaborating.

Salami vowed that Iran “will find you wherever you are”, referring to any ISIL members behind the bombing plot.

And Raisi said revenge for the killings will come at “the time and place will be determined by our forces”.

The president in his remarks also hailed Palestinian militant group Hamas for its Oct. 7 attacks on Israel which triggered an unrelenting offensive on the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Tehran-backed movement.

Friday’s funeral took place at the Emam Ali mosque in Kerman, where crowds gathered in front of dozens of coffins wrapped in the Iranian flag, according to state media.

The mourners waved the national flag as well as the yellow flag of Tehran’s ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, along with portaits of Soleimani.

Raisi, who arrived in Kerman to attend the funerals, also visited Soleimani’s grave, state TV said.

Iranian authorities called for mass rallies after the funerals and Friday prayers to protest the bombings.

In a statement published Thursday on Telegram, the ISIL said two of its members “activated their explosives vests” at the gathering.

Iranian investigators had already confirmed that the first blast at least was the work of a “suicide bomber” and believed the trigger for the second was “very probably another suicide bomber”, official news agency IRNA had reported earlier, citing an “informed source”.

A staunch enemy of the jihadist group, Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm, overseeing military operations across the Middle East.

mourning, US,

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