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Arrests over bombings as mourners demand revenge

Mourners have wept over the coffins of victims of two deadly blasts in Iran as the interior minister said a number of suspects had been arrested over the attacks claimed by Islamic State.

Crowds shouted “revenge, revenge” in state television footage of the funerals in the city of Kerman, the scene of Wednesday’s explosions, the bloodiest such attacks in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Nearly 100 people were killed in the blasts at a memorial service for military commander Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in Iraq in 2020 by a US drone.

The explosions took place amid a tense mood in the region as Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza neared the three-month mark.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV a number of suspects had been arrested.

“Our country’s capable intelligence agencies have found very good clues regarding elements involved in the terrorist explosions in Kerman and a section of those who had a role in this incident have been arrested,” he said without elaborating.

Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mirahmadi said: “Various individuals have been arrested in five cities in five provinces, who have supported this incident or been linked to it.

“Details will be announced in the next few hours”, the state news agency reported.

People gather for the funeral of one of the victims, Faizah Rasimi

Islamic State said yesterday that two of its members had detonated explosive belts in the crowd that had gathered for General Soleimani’s memorial in the southeastern city.

“We will find you wherever you are,” Revolutionary Guards commander Major-General Hossein Salami said at one of the funerals in Kerman’s Imam Ali religious centre.

In a televised address, President Ebrahim Raisi said: “Our forces will decide on the place and time to take action”.

In 2022, Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Iran that killed 15 people, while earlier attacks claimed by IS include twin bombings in 2017 that targeted Iran’s parliament and the tomb of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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