There have been multiple attacks on the Iranian capital of Tehran, according to The Independent.
Reports state that four unidentified assailants invaded the parliament building in Tehran on Wednesday with firearms and explosives. This happened simetaneously with an attack on The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini with what were said to be another explosive– twin attacks that claimed at least 12 lives and injured 35 others. The names of the victims have yet to be released to the press.
All four attackers of parliament have been caught and killed, according to Press TV Breaking.
As the story behind what happened in Tehran continues to unfold, here’s what you need to know and what we know so far:
1. The Attackers Were Armed With Firearms & Explosives
According to BBC, the parliament attackers were carrying Kalashnikovs and one Colt pistol. Given Iran’s tight control over gun ownership, these weapons were most likely smuggled into the country prior to the attack. CNN reports that it is currently unclear how they managed to enter the parliament building, which, given its cabinet of members, is heavily guarded and has several security checkpoints along the way.
The video clip above shows the attackers entering parliament, where you can hear them firing their weapons. Anti-Terror Special Forces were deployed to the Parliament, as were Security Forces, who reportedly killed one of the four initial attackers.
Elyas Hazrati, a senior MP, told the agency that there were at least three attackers who carried two Kalashnikov rifles and a handgun: “I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly.” The fourth attacker blew himself up on the fourth floor of the parliament building.
Bystanders outside of the building were able to grab video footage of the violent attack, including the video below, where gunfire can clearly be heard from the exterior of parliament.
2. The Attacks Appear To Have Been Coordinated
“There is panic goign through the streets of the capital right now because of the attacks,” Al Jazeera reporter Andrew Simmons during the attacks, “There is chaos inside the parliament… It is very likely that these attacks were coordinated. Its hardly a coincidence that it happened within minutes of each other.” Simmons proved to be correct in his assumption, as the organization known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Ali Khalili, a member of the mausoleum’s public relations office told local reporters that one of the armed men had blown himself up in front of a bank outside the mausoleum. Upon further investigation, the Fars news agency reported that it was in fact a man who took his own life in the bombing, and that his female accomplice was later arrested. Two people died and 10 were injured as a result.
The image above has also been subject to some confusion, as some have labeled it to be an image of one of the attackers. When in fact, it is one of the Tehran police officers securing the parliament building after the attack.
Images of the deceased attacker have since been released online, affirming that he was wearing black clothing. The face has been blurred out pending identification. Of the causalities confirmed here, however, but it remains to be seen whether it includes the suicide bomber himself.
3. The Second Attack Was A ‘Symbolic’ Target
The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is one of extreme importance in Iran. Khomeini, a philosopher and revolutionary, founded the Islamic Republic of Iran and subsequently overthrew the Pahlavi monarchy and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, in 1979. Khomeini would go on to become the country’s supreme leader, a position he created and held as the highest-ranking political and religious authority in all of Iran. He remained supreme leader until his death in 1989, when he was succeeded by Ali Khamaenei.
According to CNN, the staging of the second attack at Khomeini’s Mausoleum is very much a symbolic gesture on the part of the attackers. Located 25 kilometers from the parliament building, it is a symbol of hope and strength for the Iranian people. A photo taken outside of the mausoleum shows the very moment the suicide bomber took his life, and the explosion can be seen in plain view.
Police responded immediately to the scene, and photos have since surfaced of the crime scene’s aftermath and the aforementioned remains of the unidentified attacker.
4. ISIS Has Claimed Responsibility for the Attacks
Though some were still questioning whether or not the attacks were coordinated or simply random acts of violence, ISIS has stepped forward to take credit for them, affirming this theory. According to Vocative, the organization released a statement on its official news outlet, Amaq: “ISIS fighters have attacked the tomb of Khomeini and the Iranian Parliament in Tehran.” Read the original message above.
This will mark the first time the organization has carried out a major terror attack on Iranian soil. In a report by The Independent, analyst Charlie Winter said that the announcement of ISIS involvement could have “massive implications” moving forward. “Iran’s response to this could utterly transform the shape of the war against [ISIS] which is, of course, exactly what [ISIS] wants.”
To support this claim, ISIS released video footage of the attackers from within the parliament building. The content in the footage is graphic and is not suitable for young viewers.
The Tehran attacks mark the fourth major event worldwide to be claimed by ISIS since the holy month of Ramadan began on May 27th. The most recent of this include the Manchester bombing, which claimed 22 lives and injured countless others.
To learn more about the Manchester bombing, which occurred during an Ariana Grande concert on May 22nd, click on the link below.
5. This Is the First Terrorist Attack In Iran Since 2010
The last major attack in Iran was in 2010, when a Sunni extremist group carried out a similar suicide attack on a mosque in Sistan-Baluchistan. In that situation, the first bomber detonated his explosives outside the Imam Husain Mosque and another one carried out the attacks in the crowd of worshippers.
The first attacker was killed in the explosion, and the other one was arrested after the fact. There were approximately 35 worshippers that were believed to have been killed in the explosion, plus an additional 100 worshippers that suffered injuries.
Social media has provided an outpouring of support for the people of Tehran, and the hashtags #TehranAttacks and #PrayForTehran has since become trending topics. Check out some of the exemplary tweets below: