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95 Killed In Blasts Near Soleimani’s Tomb

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Ninety-five people were killed and 211 injured after two explosions occurred near the grave of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani on his fourth death anniversary.

Iranian state television reported a first and then a second explosion at the cemetery in the southern city of Kerman during the ceremony held to mark the 2020 killing of the top IRGC commander in a US drone attack at Baghdad airport.

Iranian officials have made conflicting statements since the incident. The mayor of Kerman and some government-controlled media claimed that the explosions were due to gas blasts, while others said it was a suicide attack, and yet other officials said bombs were placed on the road to the cemetery.

Local media reported that the condition of some of those injured was critical, while one emergency medical staff member, who was rushing to the scene after the first explosion, was killed by the second blast.

The number of casualties, first reported as 20 dead climbed quickly, as local media put the latest number at 103 people killed and more than 170 injured in the incident. However, it remains unclear if all the casualties were due to the explosions or a stampede that reportedly followed the incidents.

The semi-official Nournews said soon after the incident that “several gas canisters exploded on the road leading to the cemetery and relevant authorities are monitoring the situation”.

However, later reports spoke of four explosions and a hardliner member of parliament blamed Israel for what he said was a terror attack conducted with suicide belts. Semi-official media reported that two bombs were placed in separate bags.

In more than two decades at the head of the IRGC’s Quds forces, Soleimani managed to create a loose but effective coalition of forces spanning from Yemen to Lebanon, all with domestic interest but united in their enmity towards Israel and the US.

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