Iran says at least 20 people were killed and 40

Iran says at least 20 people were killed and 40 injured in explosions at the ceremony honoring the slain general – The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Explosions at an event honoring a prominent Iranian general killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2020 have killed at least 25 people and injured 40 others, state media in Iran reported Wednesday.

A senior official called the explosions a “terrorist” attack without elaborating on who might be behind them, amid wider tensions in the Middle East over Israel's ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Iranian state television quoted Saeed Miadfar, a spokesman for the country's emergency services, regarding the number of victims.

The explosions occurred on the fourth anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force. who died in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020. The explosions occurred near his gravesite in Kerman, about 820 kilometers (510 miles) southeast of the capital Tehran.

Authorities said some people were injured in the subsequent escape.

Soleimani was the architect of Iran's regional military activities and is celebrated as a national icon among supporters of Iran's theocracy. But to American officials, he represented a deadly enemy during the Iraq War, helping to arm militants with penetrating roadside bombs that killed and maimed U.S. troops.

Kerman Deputy Governor Rahman Jalali called the attack “terrorist” without elaborating. Iran has several enemies that could be behind the attack, including exile groups, militant organizations and state actors. Iran has supported Hamas, as well as the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Soleimani's death has sparked large processions in the past. His funeral in 2020 saw a stampede that left at least 56 people dead and more than 200 injured as thousands thronged the procession.