Zarif: A 'foreign regime' trained and armed Ahvaz terror attackers

Iran vows 'crushing response' after gunmen kill 29 at army parade

Women and children also died in the assault, state news IRNA agency reported.

The al-Ahvaziya terror group, whose recruits are believed to be scattered in several European countries, including in the Netherlands and in Denmark, claimed responsibility for the attack in Ahvaz.

Gunmen disguised as soldiers in military uniforms, began shooting from behind the stands during the parade, according to the state-run news agency.

Ahvaz is in the center of Khuzestan province, where there have been sporadic protests by minority Arabs in predominantly Shi'ite Iran.

Mainly Shi'ite Iran and mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia support opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Iranian Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the armed forces, alleged without evidence that the four militants involved in Saturday's attack "were dependent to the intelligence services of the US and the Mossad" of Israel.

The attack in Ahvaz came as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was among the dignitaries at the main anniversary parade in Tehran.

The parade was part of nationwide celebrations in Iran to mark the 30th anniversary since the end of the eight-year war with Iraq that started in September 1980 and ended in August 1988.

The so-called Islamic State and the separatist Arab-Sunni group Al-Ahvazieh have both claimed responsibility for the attack.

"They have been trained and organized in two Persian Gulf countries", he said, without elaborating.

Iran vows 'crushing response' after gunmen kill 29 at army parade
Zarif: A 'foreign regime' trained and armed Ahvaz terror attackers

Reports say almost half of those killed were members of the Revolutionary Guard, who are under Mr Khamenei's command.

Last year, after two attacks linked to the Islamic State left 23 dead in Tehran, the White House released an official statement from the president that offered sympathy for the victims of the attack, but added that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote".

Earlier reports described the assailants as "Takfiri", a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

The United States was not the only country to delay its messages of condolences to Iran - notably, unlike many other nations, it does not have an ambassador in Tehran.

"Of the four terrorists, three were sent to hell at the scene, while the fourth who had been wounded and arrested went to hell moments ago due to his severe wounds", Shekarchi told state television.

But Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he held a USA ally in the region responsible.

Recently, the Revolutionary Guards also targeted Iranian Kurdish fighters in Iraq.

At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the 2017 operation in gunmen carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosives stormed the parliament complex where a legislative session had been in progress, starting an hours-long siege.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency said an unnamed spokesman for the IRGC had blamed Arab nationalists backed by Saudi Arabia for the attack.

A military exercise in Iran comes to a halt, after attackers open fire, killing at least 24 people.

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