More than 100 killed in Iran blasts at event marking general’s death

BEIRUT — More than 100 people were killed and scores injured Wednesday in two blasts that struck the central Iranian city of Kerman, emergency services said. Thousands of mourners had gathered there to commemorate Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani on the fourth anniversary of his assassination in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in 2020.

A spokesman for the country’s emergency department was quoted by Iran’s state-run news agency as saying 103 people were killed and 188 were injured.

The deputy governor of Kerman, the slain general’s hometown, said the incident was a “terrorist attack,” according to Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The explosions occurred about a half-mile from Soleimani’s burial place, on a road to the graveyard, the agency reported.

Before the blasts, the state-run live broadcast had shown thousands of mourners filling the street, moving calmly in a procession. After the attack, it broadcast video of people running frantically and men wearing EMT uniforms surging into the crowd.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Soleimani headed the Quds Force, an expeditionary unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. In that role, he oversaw a network of Iranian-supported proxy groups across the Middle East that helped project Tehran’s military and political power in places such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

The blasts Wednesday came amid intensifying involvement by Iranian-backed militant groups in a confrontation with Israel and its principal backer, the United States, during Israel’s war in Gaza.

Fahim reported from Istanbul.


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