Almost 100 killed and 171 injured in twin bombings in Iran

Almost 100 killed and 171 injured in twin bombings in Iran
Almost 100 people have been killed at the fourth memorial ceremony for Qassem Suleimani, a top Iranian military commander. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews January 3, 2024

Almost 100 people were killed and 171 injured in twin bombings during a memorial ceremony in Kerman, Iran, commemorating the fourth anniversary of the US killing of Qassem Suleimani, a top Iranian military commander.

The attack on January 3 was immediately labelled as "terroristic" by a senior Iranian official, Tasnim News Agency reported.

This incident comes amid heightened tensions in the region. Iraqi Iran-aligned forces have repeatedly hit US military sites in eastern Syria in recent days.

Video shared on social media showed two explosions, 10 minutes apart, near Golzar Shohada, a cemetery that houses Suleimani's grave and those of over a thousand resistance fighters. Initial confusion over the cause of the explosions was later clarified by officials who confirmed the use of remotely detonated bombs.

According to the Tasnim News Agency from Kerman, following the explosions in Kerman, some Israeli websites claimed that one of the senior commanders of the IRGC had been killed in the blast.

However, Tasnim's investigations revealed that this news is false, and none of the senior IRGC commanders were present near the explosion site.

Some Iranian officials rushed to blame Israel for the bombings, though this would be a new tactic by Tel Aviv. At Christmas an Israeli airstike killed  Razi Mousavi, who Iran said was a senior adviser of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Israel has also assassinated  nuclear scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear programme.

The new bombings occurred on the roads leading to Golzar Shahada, the Garden of Martyrs, cemetery in Kerman. Suleimani’s body is buried in the cemetery along with 1,024 resistance fighters. The site is a pilgrimage destination for Iranians opposed to US and Western influence in the Middle East.

A US drone assassinated the Iranian general Suleimani —arguably the Islamic Republic’s second most powerful figure after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei— four years ago to this day in a strike that threatened to trigger a regional war.

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at the time accused president Donald Trump who ordered the attack of “tossing a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox”. Fellow Democratic hopefuls in that election Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders warned that the attack could spark a disastrous new war.

Sometimes referred to as the “Shadow Commander”, Suleimani was much more than a feared major-general who rose from humble origins to become Iran’s military mastermind in the Republic’s fight against the US, bne IntelliNews reported at the time of his death in a deep dive into Suleimani’s career.

Suleimani, head of Iran's elite Quds Force, was killed in a 2020 US drone strike in Baghdad. His death was a significant blow to Iran's military leadership, particularly in directing proxy forces in Iraq and Syria.