On the anniversary of General Qassem Soleimani’s death, Iran was rocked by deadly explosions near his gravesite, leaving at least 103 people dead and more than 180 injured, according to official reports. The incident occurred in the southern city of Kerman, where Soleimani is buried at the Saheb al-Zaman Mosque.
The explosions, reported to be the deadliest militant attacks on Iranian soil since the 1979 revolution, took place around 3 p.m. local time. Ambulances rushed to the scene as hundreds had gathered at the cemetery to commemorate the anniversary of the renowned general’s death in a 2020 US drone strike in Iraq.
The nature of the attack points to a coordinated effort, with two explosive devices detonating approximately 20 minutes apart. Sources suggest that the bombs were concealed in bags and triggered remotely. While no group has claimed responsibility, Iranian officials are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
Rahman Jalali, the deputy governor of Kerman province, confirmed the terrorist nature of the blasts, although no details on potential perpetrators were provided. Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi pledged a swift and forceful response, emphasizing that security authorities would act decisively.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned the “heinous” attack and promised a prompt investigation to identify and punish those responsible. He affirmed the Iranian nation’s resilience against such actions, stating, “The enemies of the nation should know that such actions can never disrupt the solid determination of the Iranian nation.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s most senior leader, issued a statement hours after the explosions, vowing a strong response to the tragedy. The global community has also expressed solidarity, with Russian President Vladimir Putin denouncing the killings in a letter to Khamenei. The European Union condemned the bombing, emphasizing the need to hold the perpetrators accountable.
As Iran observes a day of mourning, the nation grapples with the shock and grief of the deadliest attack in decades. The investigation into the incident remains ongoing, with heightened tensions in the region adding complexity to an already volatile situation.