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  • Ladies and youngsters amongst casualties – state media
  • President says Iran will reply to assault
  • Protesters mark 40 days since Mahsa Amini’s loss of life in custody

DUBAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The militant group Islamic State stated it carried out an assault on a Shi’ite Muslim shrine in Iran on Wednesday which killed 15 folks, escalating tensions in a rustic reeling from a wave of protests and prompting warnings of a response from Tehran.

Iranian officers stated they’d arrested a gunman who carried out the assault on the Shah Cheragh shrine within the metropolis of Shiraz. State media blamed “takfiri terrorists” – a label Tehran makes use of for hardline Sunni Muslim militants like Islamic State.

The group has claimed earlier assaults in Iran, together with lethal twin bombings in 2017 which focused Iran’s parliament and the tomb of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Wednesday’s killing of Shi’ite pilgrims got here on the identical day that Iranian safety forces clashed with more and more strident protesters marking the 40-day anniversary for the reason that loss of life in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish girl.

Inside Minister Ahmad Vahidi blamed the protests sweeping Iran for paving the bottom for the Shiraz assault, and President Ebrahim Raisi stated Iran would reply, in keeping with state media.

“Expertise reveals that Iran’s enemies, after failing to create a break up within the nation’s united ranks, take revenge by violence and terror,” stated Raisi, talking earlier than Islamic State launched its declare of duty.

“This crime will certainly not go unanswered, and the safety and regulation enforcement forces will train a lesson to those that designed and carried out the assault.”

The semi-official Tasnim information company stated the attacker shot an worker on the shrine entrance earlier than his rifle jammed and he was chased by bystanders.

He managed to repair his gun and opened hearth on his pursuers, earlier than getting into a courtyard and taking pictures worshippers. A number of ladies and youngsters had been among the many lifeless, it stated.

A witness at Shah Cheragh instructed state tv: “I heard sounds of gunfire after we prayed. We went to a room subsequent to the shrine, this lowlife got here and fired a barrage of pictures. Then (the bullet) hit my arm and leg, it hit my spouse’s again, however thank God my little one was not hit, he’s seven years outdated.”

DAY OF CLASHES

The assault in Shiraz befell on the finish of a day of confrontations throughout the nation between safety forces and protesters, with video footage exhibiting a few of the most violent clashes in additional than a month of unrest following Amini’s loss of life.

The demonstrations have change into one of many boldest challenges to the clerical management for the reason that 1979 revolution. A variety of Iranians have come out on to the streets, with some calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic and the loss of life of Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Safety forces opened hearth at mourners in Amini’s Kurdish dwelling city of Saqez on Wednesday, in keeping with a witness.

“Riot police shot mourners who gathered on the cemetery for Mahsa’s memorial ceremony … dozens have been arrested,” the witness stated. Iranian authorities weren’t obtainable to remark.

The semi-official ISNA information company stated about 10,000 folks had been on the cemetery, including that the web was lower off after clashes between safety forces and folks there.

Movies on social media confirmed crowds packing streets in lots of cities and the bazaars of Tehran and another cities shut down with folks chanting “Loss of life to Khamenei”.

1500tasvir, a Twitter account centered on Iran protests with 280,000 followers, reported a “brutal crackdown” on protesters in a number of places in Tehran, together with a gathering on the Tehran Medical Affiliation.

Video footage on social media appeared to point out members of the Basij militia taking pictures at protesters in Tehran.

Different movies confirmed protesters chasing riot police and throwing stones. In addition they confirmed protesters within the holy Shi’ite metropolis of Mashhad setting hearth to a riot policeman’s bike. In Tehran, a protester hit a policeman, whereas within the metropolis of Qazvin riot police opened hearth on protesters.

Some protesters chanted: “We’ll battle, we are going to die, we are going to get Iran again” from its clerical rulers.

Reuters was not in a position to confirm the authenticity of the footage.

State information company IRNA stated a member of the elite Revolutionary Guards was shot lifeless “by rioters” within the western metropolis of Malayer.

An Iranian former pro-reform official stated the unfold of the protests appeared to have taken authorities unexpectedly and contrasted with the institution’s assertions that assist for the Islamic system is overwhelming.

Whereas some analysts stated prospects for the upcoming daybreak of a brand new political order are slim, activists stated a wall of worry had fallen and the trail to a brand new revolution was not reversible.

College students have performed a pivotal position within the protests, with dozens of universities on strike. A whole lot of schoolgirls have joined in, chanting “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom,” regardless of fierce crackdowns by safety forces.

State media and hardline officers have branded protesters “hypocrites, monarchists, thugs and seditionists”.

Rights teams stated not less than 250 protesters had been killed, together with teenage ladies, and 1000’s had been arrested.

The authorities, who’ve accused america and different Western international locations of fomenting what they name “riots”, have but to announce a loss of life toll however state media have stated round 30 members of the safety forces have been killed.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi and Dominic Evans
Enhancing by Michael Georgy, Nick Macfie and Alistair Bell

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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