Attackers raid Iran parliament and mausoleum, up to seven dead

Posted June 07, 2017

The semi-official ISNA news agency said all entrance and exit gates at parliament were closed and that lawmakers and reporters were ordered to remain in place inside the chamber.

In the coordinated mid-morning attack, a gardener was reported dead and several more injured when armed assailants entered the grounds of Khomeini's mausoleum in the south of the city.

Two teams of attackers used gunfire and explosives to strike Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran Wednesday, according to state media.

The SITE intelligence group website said: "The Islamic State (IS) claimed through its 'Amaq News Agency its first attack in Iran, striking the Iranian parliament and the Khomeini shrine in the capital, Tehran".

The Sunni jihadists of IS consider Shiite Iran to be apostates, and Tehran is deeply involved in fighting the group in both Syria and Iraq.

Other reports say the gunmen have opened fire at people while still inside the parliament's courtyard. There, four attackers, including a suicide bomber, killed a security guard and wounded four other people.

Tasmin news agency said there were unconfirmed reports that the attackers had taken four hostages inside the parliament building.

"I was shopping and suddenly heard shooting", said housewife Maryam Saghari, 36, who lives near parliament. Five people died and at least 25 were injured there, Fars reported.

Attacks are highly rare in Tehran and other major cities though a Sunni militant group named Jundallah and its splinter group Ansar al Furqan have been waging a deadly insurgency, mostly in more remote areas, for nearly a decade.

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"Members of a third group were arrested before being able to carry out any attack", the ministry said.

Iran has suffered from terrorist attacks in the past, but rarely in the cities or the capital.

One guard and six others were killed in the incident in parliament early on Wednesday, Tasnim news agency reported.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini launched the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The attackers chose symbolically significant targets for their assault. The tomb houses the body of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic's founder and first supreme leader, and it is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims.

Deputy Chairman of Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Abolfazl Hassan Beigi, told Mehr News that terrorists opened fire at people on the street from an open window on the fourth floor.

It also claimed two suicide bombers had blown themselves up at the shrine.

Militant groups are also active in Iran's south-eastern Sistan-Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and has a large Sunni community.

- One attacker of Iran Parliament has been arrested, reports state news agency IRNA.