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Attack on Iran Shiite shrine leaves one dead — state media

By AFP - Aug 13,2023 - Last updated at Aug 13,2023

Emergency personnel transport the injured following a shooting attack at Iran’s Shah Cheragh Mausoleum in the Fars province capital Shiraz, on Sunday (AFP photo)

TEHRAN — A shooting on Sunday at a Shiite Muslim shrine in Iran’s south killed at least one person and wounded eight others, state media reported, revising down a previous toll of four fatalities.

The attack comes less than a year after a similar one on the same holy site, the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in the Fars province capital Shiraz.

“One person has been killed and eight others wounded in the attack,” official news agency IRNA reported, quoting Deputy Fars Governor Esmail Ghezel Sofla.

The wounded “have been transferred to medical centres and are undergoing treatment”, IRNA said.

Earlier, it said four people were killed but has retracted the initial report.

The death toll of one was confirmed by the Fars commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Yadollah Bouali, speaking on state TV.

Iranian media outlets have provided different accounts of the attack and varying casualty tolls.

Bouali said that one gunman was behind it and arrested shortly after.

“A terrorist entered the gate of the shrine and opened fire with a battle rifle,” Bouali said.

Fars province Governor Mohamed Hadi Imanieh told state TV the attack occurred around 7:00pm (1530 GMT).

Footage carried by state TV showed ambulances rushing to the site of the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Shah Cheragh mausoleum is home to the tomb of Ahmad, brother of Imam Reza — the eighth Shiite imam — and is considered the holiest site in southern Iran.

On October 26, a mass shooting at the revered shrine left 13 people dead and 30 wounded, in an attack later claimed by Daesh  group extremists.

Iran hanged two men in public over the October attack, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news website reported last month, identifying them as Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Naeem Hashem Qatali but not revealing their nationalities.

Authorities had previously said the attack involved people from other countries including neighbouring Afghanistan.

The pair were hanged at dawn on July 8 on a street near the shrine in Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, IRNA reported at the time.

Mizan said they had been convicted of “corruption on earth, armed rebellion and acting against national security” as well as “conspiracy against the security of the country”.

According to Mizan, Rashidi had confessed to having collaborated with Daesh to carry out the shooting.

Three other defendants in the case were sentenced to prison for five, 15 and 25 years for being members of Daesh, Fars Chief Justice Kazem Moussavi said.

The main assailant — who Iranian media had identified as Hamed Badakhshan, a man in his 30s — died of injuries sustained during his arrest, authorities said.

In November, Tehran said 26 “takfiri terrorists” from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan had been arrested in connection with the attack.

In Shiite-dominated Iran, the term takfiri generally refers to extremists or proponents of radical Sunni Islam.

Last year’s attack occurred as Iran was gripped by nationwide protests following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested for an alleged breach of strict dress rules for women.

 

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