Istanbul: At least 24 persons were killed and 53 others sustained injuries in an attack on a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz in the Khuzestan province on Saturday.
The armed forces staged parades in several cities, including the capital, Tehran, to mark the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war when the attack took place.
Iran’s Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard said that the parade in Ahvaz began at 8.30 am and that the assailants opened fire about 30 minutes later. The semi-official Fars news agency also stated that two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.
Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility, an anonymous spokesman for the elite Revolutionary Guards security force in a statement to the media blamed Arab nationalists backed by Saudi Arabia for the attack.
Tensions between traditional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have surged in recent years, with the two countries supporting opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon. Attacks on the military are rare in Iran.
Notably, last year, in the first deadly attack claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 people were killed at the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first leader of the Islamic Republic.