29 soldiers were killed, 53 injured in Iran as gunmen attack military parade

Gunmen attacked a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, killing 29 and wounding 53, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency said.
The IRNA report said those wounded in the attack on Saturday included a woman and a child.
Earlier reports described the assailants as "Takfiri gunmen", a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.
The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.
State television showed images of the immediate aftermath. In it, paramedics could be seen helping someone in military fatigues laying on the ground. Other armed security personnel shouted at each other in front of what appeared to be a viewing stand for the parade.
The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack's aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.
The attack struck on Ahvaz's Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has blamed regional countries and their "United States masters" for the attack.
Zarif on Twitter warned that "Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives" after the attack in Ahvaz.
He said that children and journalists were casualties in the attack.
He added that the gunmen were "terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime".
He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there.
Saturday's attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017, Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.
That attack had at that point been the only one by the Sunni extremists inside of Shiite Iran, which has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria where the militants once held vast territory.
At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the 2017 attack that saw gunmen carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives storm the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress, starting an hours-long siege.
Meanwhile, gunmen and suicide bombers also struck outside Khomeini's mausoleum on Tehran's southern outskirts. Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran's first supreme leader until his death in 1989.
Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province. The province in the past has seen Arab separatists attack oil pipelines.
The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.
Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the assault was the handiwork of "regional terror sponsors", language that usually refers to Iran's enemies Saudi Arabia and Israel, and "their US masters". He vowed Tehran would respond decisively.
The Revolutionary Guards are the most powerful and heavily armed military force in the Islamic Republic and also have a vast stake worth billions of dollars in the economy.
Kurdish militants killed 10 Revolutionary Guards in an attack on an IRGC post on the Iraqi border in July, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, the latest bloodshed in an area where armed
Kurdish opposition groups are active.
Iran will be scrambling to determine the motives for the Saturday's high-profile attack as it faces growing U.S. pressure.
President Donald Trump decided in May to pull the United States out of the 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran and reimpose sanctions in a bid to isolate the Islamic Republic.
A video on state television's website showed confused soldiers at the scene of the attack. Standing in front of the stand, one asked: "Where did they come from?" Another responded: "From behind us."
Four militants carried out the attack and two of them were killed, according to ISNA. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack in the city of Ahvaz.
Iran was holding similar parades in several cities including the capital Tehran and the port of Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. "Shooting began by several gunmen from behind the stand during the parade. There are several killed and injured," a correspondent told state television.
Tensions between mainly Shi'ite Iran and mostly Sunni 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.
Last year, in the first deadly assault claimed by Islamic State in Tehran, 18 people were killed at the parliament and mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and first supreme leader of the Islamic Republic.Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani vowed a “crushing response” after gunmen shot dead at least 29 people including women and children Saturday in an attack on an Iranian military parade.
The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed to have carried out the rare assault in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, while Iranian officials accused “a foreign regime” backed by the United States of being behind it.
“The response of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the smallest threat will be crushing,” Rouhani said on his official website, after earlier addressing a similar military parade in Tehran to mark the start of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq.
“Those who give intelligence and propaganda support to these terrorists must answer for it,” he said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack near the Iraqi border was carried out by “terrorists recruited, trained, armed and paid by a foreign regime”.
“Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
The city lies in Khuzestan, a province bordering Iraq that has a large ethnic Arab community and has seen separatist violence in the past that Iran has blamed on its regional rivals.
IS jihadists said via their propaganda mouthpiece Amaq that “Islamic State fighters attacked a gathering of Iranian forces” in Ahvaz.
State television gave a casualty toll of 29 dead and 57 wounded, while the official news agency IRNA said those killed included women and children among spectators at the rally. Many of the wounded were in critical condition.
Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Brig Gen Abolfazl Shekarchi said that the militants who had committed the attack on the military parade were linked to the United States and Israel. “These terrorists are not members of the IS and do not belong to groups fighting the Islamic system. These people are linked to the United States and [Israeli intelligence service] Mossad. These militants were organised and trained by two countries of the Persian Gulf,” Shekarchi told IRNA in an interview.
The spokesman added that the servicemen had killed all four militants who committed the attack.
Foreign Minister Zarif did not specify which regional government he held responsible for the shooting, but Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said the attackers were funded by Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia.
“Those who opened fire on civilians and the armed forces have links to the Ahvazi movement,” Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif told the semi-official agency ISNA. “They are funded by Saudi Arabia and attempted to cast a shadow over the Iranian armed forces.”
Armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the dead included a young girl and a former serviceman in a wheelchair.
Three attackers were killed at the scene, he said, and the fourth died later of his injuries, he told state television.
Khuzestan deputy governor Ali-Hossein Hosseinzadeh told ISNA that “eight to nine” troops were among those killed, as well as a journalist. In a message of condolence to Russia’s close regional ally, President Vladimir Putin said he was “appalled by this bloody crime” which was a reminder of the “necessity of an uncompromising battle against terrorism”.
Syria, another ally, also condemned the attacks, standing in “full sympathy and solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran”, said a Syrian foreign ministry official.
Neighbouring Turkey expressed “great sorrow” at what it called “a heinous terrorist attack”.
Khuzestan was a major battleground of the 1980s war with Iraq and the province saw unrest in 2005 and 2011, but has since been largely quiet.
Attacks by Kurdish rebels on military patrols along the border further north are relatively common. But attacks on regime targets inside major cities are far rarer.
On June 7, 2017, 17 people were killed and dozens wounded in simultaneous attacks in Tehran on the parliament and on the tomb of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini - the first inside Iran claimed by IS.
In April, 26 alleged members of the Sunni extremist group went on trial on charges connected with that twin attack.
The attack in Ahvaz came as Rouhani was among dignitaries at the main anniversary parade in Tehran. In a keynote speech, he vowed to boost Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his US counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.
“We will never decrease our defensive capabilities... we will increase them day by day,” Rouhani said at a military parade. “The fact that the missiles anger you shows they are our most effective weapons,” he said, referring to the West.
The United States reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran last month, and a new round of even harsher sanctions targeting Iran’s vital oil sector is set to go back into effect on November 5.
Washington has said it is ready to open talks on a new agreement to replace the July 2015 accord, but Tehran has said repeatedly it cannot negotiate under the pressure of the sanctions.
Trump and Rouhani will both be in New York next week for the United Nations General Assembly. But Iran has repeatedly ruled out any meeting.

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South Punjab News : 29 soldiers were killed, 53 injured in Iran as gunmen attack military parade
29 soldiers were killed, 53 injured in Iran as gunmen attack military parade
That attack had at that point been the only one by the Sunni extremists inside of Shiite Iran, which has been deeply involved in the wars in Iraq and Syria where the militants once held vast territory.
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