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More than 100 killed in twin bombs at vicinity of Soleimani’s Tomb during ceremony

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In a shocking development on the solemn anniversary of the 2020 assassination of Iran’s top commander, Qassem Soleimani, twin explosions killed at least 103 people and wounded dozens near a cemetery in Iran,  state media reported on Wednesday.

The explosions, labeled a “terrorist attack” by state television, occurred near the Saheb al-Zaman Mosque as supporters gathered to commemorate Soleimani’s death.

Kerman’s deputy governor confirmed the nature of the explosions, stating that it was a “terrorist attack,” while state media reported more than 200 people wounded. Tasnim news agency, citing informed sources, reported that “two bags carrying bombs went off,” suggesting a coordinated attack.

The agency added, “The perpetrators… of this incident apparently detonated the bombs by remote control.”

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Kerman mayor Saeed Tabrizi, as quoted by ISNA news agency, revealed that the bombs exploded 10 minutes apart. Disturbing online footage depicted crowds scrambling to flee as security personnel cordoned off the area.

State television images showed ambulances and rescue personnel responding to the scene.

Qassem Soleimani, the former head of the Quds Force, Iran’s foreign operations arm, was assassinated in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in 2020. Declared a “living martyr” by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Soleimani was revered for his role in defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Iranians mourned his death, demonstrating a show of national unity during the days leading up to his funeral in Kerman.

Seen here at a meeting of Revolutionary Guards top brass in 2016, General Qassem Soleimani (C) headed its foreign operations until his death in a targeted US drone strike just outside Baghdad airport in January 2020

The latest explosions in Soleimani’s hometown mark a tragic continuation of events linked to his legacy, adding another layer of complexity to the already tense geopolitical landscape in the Middle East. Investigations are underway to determine the culprits behind the attack and their motives.

Hamas deputy head Saleh al-Arouri killed in Israeli drone strike

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel reportedly assassinated Saleh al-Arouri, a senior official in the political leadership of Hamas, in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

The strike occurred on Tuesday night and resulted in a significant explosion that destroyed several vehicles in the residential area of Dahiyeh, a stronghold of the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

The attack, which claimed the life of Arouri, also took the lives of three other individuals, including two Qassam Brigade commanders, according to statements from both Hamas and Israeli officials.

 

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The targeted strike has intensified the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, with the latter being an ally of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Saleh al-Arouri, a founding member of the armed wing of Hamas, was known for his deep involvement in the organization’s military affairs.

The Israeli military, in response to queries about the incident, refrained from confirming or denying the reports, stating that it does not respond to foreign media reports.

Dahiyeh, where the explosion occurred, witnessed the aftermath of the strike as social media footage depicted burnt-out wreckage and crowds gathering near the site. The area is not only a residential zone but also home to many members of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s Manar television station reported the incident, noting that an explosion had taken place near the Hadi Nasrallah highway, close to a road junction. Although details about the explosion remain scarce, a witness suggested that it might have been caused by an Israeli drone striking the second floor of a building in the crowded neighborhood.

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