July 17, 2010
Iran is vowing to hunt down a Sunni separatist group which claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing that killed 28 people at a mosque in the south-eastern city of Zahedan.
Jundullah – Arabic for “the soldiers of God” – said it carried out the twin attacks yesterday at Zahedan’s grand mosque in retaliation for the execution of the group’s captured leader. Provincial officials said a further 167 people were injured, some of them critically. Three days of mourning were declared. General Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, claimed in Tehran today that the victims “were martyred by the hands of mercenaries of the US and UK”. Ali Mohammad Azad, governor of Sistan-Baluchestan province, blamed “the intelligence services of arrogant powers.”
The US and Britain – which are at odds with Iran over its controversial nuclear programme – issued statements condemning the attacks.
Shia worshippers were celebrating the birthday of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein when the first bomb detonated, according to reports from the scene. A second explosion took place 15 minutes later as people rushed to help – a technique used by Sunni groups in Iraq to maximise casualties. The dead reportedly included several Revolutionary Guards.
Iranian media said the aim was to sow discord between Shias and Sunnis in the Sunni majority area, which borders on Pakistan. Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan, has seen several mass casualty attacks in recent years.
This article was posted: Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 2:34 am