Iran blasts: Death toll from blasts claimed by Islamic State rises to 89


KARMAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian officials on Friday tried to link Israel and the U.S. Islamic State group claims suicide bombing Speaking at a mass funeral for some of the 89 people killed in the attack, he sought to link the attack to broader Middle East tensions stemming from the Israel-Hamas war.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the top commander of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard sought to make the link without offering evidence for their claims. The crowd gathered in front of the flag-draped coffins shouted in response: “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”

“The enemy always sees the strength of the Islamic Republic. The whole world is recognizing this power and this potential,” Raisi said without directly naming any country. “To be sure, the initiative is in the hands of our powerful forces. The place and time will be decided by our army.

Iranian state television also sought to link the US to the attack. At one point, it re-aired comments made by then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 Then President Barack Obama was wrongly accused Of being the “founder” of an extremist group.

Critics have blamed Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq in 2011, which allowed the group, once an al-Qaeda affiliate, to flourish and eventually control large parts of Iraq and Syria under its self-declared rule. Joined the Caliphate. US troops under both Obama and Trump fought alongside allied forces to retake that territory.

Guard commander General Hossein Salami also sought similar ties.

“They can only act as agents and mercenaries of American politics and Zionism,” Salami said. “But we warn them, … wherever you are, we will find you. You cannot escape divine punishment by disappearing. If you live for 1,000 years, we will find you.”

In Wednesday’s attack, one suicide bomber killed himself, then 20 minutes later another struck as people and emergency workers tried to help the wounded in Kerman, about 820 kilometers (510 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. Were staying. The attack targeted the memory of Guard General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2020 while leading the Quds Force, its expeditionary force.

Soleimani was 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 across the wider Middle East, including Hamas. But the US, which killed Soleimani under widespread tension over its collapsed nuclear deal with world powers, Soleimani seen as mastermind Behind deadly roadside bombings targeting US troops in Iraq.

Officials gave an update on the death toll on Friday, saying at least 89 people were killed and about 280 others were injured in the twin attacks on Wednesday. The attacks have drawn worldwide condemnation, even amid Iran’s broader tensions with the West over its nuclear program.

The Vatican said Friday that Pope Francis offered a condolence telegram to express his “deep sorrow over the loss of life caused by the recent explosions in Kerman.”

Francis “invokes the blessings of the Almighty of wisdom and peace for all the people of Iran,” the Vatican said.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement Thursday, naming the two attackers and calling it part of a new campaign linked to Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip. The statement differed somewhat from previous claims made by the Islamic State group in other attacks in Iran, although experts said it appeared legitimate and came from online channels linked to the extremists. Much of the group’s leadership has been killed and replaced in the years since 2014.

It is unclear why both Iranian leaders chose to focus on the US and Israel rather than the Islamic State group during their comments on Friday. Iran has previously retaliated against attacks claimed by IS. Which also includes launching ballistic missiles in Syria,

However, the Islamic State group has grown stronger in recent years in neighboring Afghanistan, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) east of Kerman, since the Western-backed government in Kabul fell to the Taliban in 2021.

Iran and the Taliban have maintained diplomatic relations since the takeover, although remain border skirmishes and the stress is gone water supplies Between the two countries. Iranian officials say at least 12 of those killed in Wednesday’s bombings were Afghans.


Vahdat reported from Tehran, Iran, and Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Francis D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.


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