At least 103 people were killed and dozens more wounded by two explosions in quick succession on the fourth anniversary of the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
The bombs detonated near Soleimani’s tomb in the Kerman Martyrs Cemetary near the Saheb al-Zaman mosque in the southern city of Kerman, according to the BBC.
State broadcaster Irib quoted Kerman’s deputy governor as saying the deaths were the result of a “terrorist attack,” though it was unknown who was behind the bombing and no group had yet claimed responsibility.
Possible suspects included the Islamic State group, Arab separatists, and “other Sunni jihadist groups,” all of whom have claimed in recent years to have successfully killed security forces in the Shia-majority state.
The BBC cited video footage of “hundreds of people” gathered, apparently to mark the anniversary of the death of Soleimani, who had been considered the second-most powerful man in Iran prior to his death in a U.S. drone strike in 2020 under President Donald Trump.
“The blasts were caused by terrorist attacks,” Iranian media quoted a local official as saying, according to Fox News. “Several gas canisters exploded on the road leading to the cemetery.”
Fox reported that “up to 141” people had been injured, in addition to 103 confirmed fatalities.
Some of those wounded, however, were in critical condition, according to the BBC.
The first bomb detonated around 2:50 p.m. local time, the BBC reported, citing local media, about 800 yards from the cemetery.
Approximately 15 minutes later, a second explosion occurred about 1,100 yards from Kerman Martyrs Cemetary.
“We were walking towards the cemetery when a car suddenly stopped behind us and a waste bin containing a bomb exploded,” a witness reported told the Iranian Isna news agency. “We only heard the sound of the explosion and saw people falling.”
It was not immediately clear whether Soleimani’s tomb itself was targeted in the attack, but video footage reviewed by the BBC appeared to show that it had not been damaged.
“As commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations arm, the Quds Force, he was an architect of Iranian policy across the region,” the BBC reported.
“He was in charge of the Quds Force’s clandestine missions and its provision of guidance, funding, weapons, intelligence, and logistical support to allied governments and armed groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah,” the outlet added.
One of those killed was a paramedic who had been dispatched to the scene of the first bomb and who died in the second explosion, according to the BBC.
“The explosions come amid severe tensions between Iran, the U.S. and Israel,” Fox noted. “Iran’s proxy terrorist groups have attacked U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria more than 100 times since October, and Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have harassed trade in the Red Sea. Hezbollah, another Iran-supported group, has threatened Israel’s northern border with drone attacks.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.