ISIS has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings in Kerman, but Iranian politicians and officials continue their allegations about Israel’s involvement.
Ahmad Bakhshayesh, a former member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee told Rouydad 24 news website Saturday that “seven or eight missiles must be fired” towards Syria or Iraq, if terrorists came from there, or “Iran should at least ask its allies and proxies to make a proper response [to whoever perpetrated the attack]”.
“Israel was the main instigator, the hypocrites [Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization] provided the means, and the fanatical ISIS who think they will go to heaven if they kill seven Shias were the executive agents [of the attack],” he said.
Also commenting on Iran’s role in the war between Hamas and Israel, Bakhshayesh said the war is “Iran’s war” but by providing technology and missiles to Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah, and Ansarullah of Yemen, they are indirectly fighting the war.
In a statement posted on its affiliate Telegram channels on Thursday, a branch of the Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh) in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the explosions. The statement said two suicide bombers had detonated their explosive belts in the middle of the crowd, “resulting in the death and injury of more than 300 polytheists [Shiites]”.
US sources familiar with the intelligence told Reuters that communications intercepts indicate that Islamic State’s Afghanistan-based branch, known as Daesh of Khorasan, was responsible for the Kerman attack that killed around ninety and wounded over 200 people.
Iran’s intelligence ministry says it has arrested eleven individuals who were involved in the logistics of the attack and identified one of the two suicide bombers as a Tajik national.
Former government spokesman and reformist politician Ali Rabiei has also commented that Israel’s Mossad may have infiltrated the group, and encouraged it to conduct an attack in Iran to draw Iran into the regional conflicts and the Gaza war.
Some military experts have also said it is possible that ISIS opportunistically took responsibility for an attack that others did not claim.
“There is high chance that ISIS’s claim about being involved in the attack is false,” Babak Taghvaee, a defense expert, told Iran International Friday.
“They have done the same in the past. There have been other terror attacks around the world and whenever the attackers didn’t take responsibility and didn’t publish any statement it was ISIS that hijacked it,” he added.
The Daesh of Khorasan (ISIS-K) emerged in Afghanistan in late 2014 and officially announced its existence in 2015.
The group takes its name from Greater Khorasan, the eastern provinces of Iran in Sassanid times which encompassed most southern Central Asia, including today’s Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The members of the group were recruited from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and the Haqqani network.
The group seeks to establish the eastern branch of the Islamic State, the Khorasan Province of an Islamic emirate in Afghan territories and beyond. The Taliban government in Afghanistan considers ISIS-K as an insurgent group.
Like other branches of the Islamic State in the Middle East, the Daesh of Khorasan has conducted many terrorist attacks including suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Kerman bombing is the first attack in Iran that the Daesh of Khorasan has taken responsibility for.
Iranian authorities have also taken legal action against those who have ruled out Israel’s responsibility for the attack, including prominent political commentator Sadegh Zibakalam who has been indicted by Tehran Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor.
In an interview with the Voice of America’s Persian television Zibakalam had said that Israel could not be held responsible for the Kerman bombings because it “does not attack innocent people”.