At least 24 were killed and more than 53 others were wounded in an attack by gunmen, during a parade of Iranian military units on Saturday morning in Iran’s southern city of Ahwaz, according to the Iranian state agency IRNA.
Ahwaz is a city in the southwest of Iran and the capital of Khuzestan province, where thousands of Arabs live in the region, which lies on the Arabian Gulf. Arabs in Ahwaz call for separation from Iran (the Persian state), while the Iranian authorities face the Arab demonstrations by excessive force and have executed hundreds of Arabs in the region.
IRNA said that the military parade was held on the occasion of the beginning of the “Sacred Defence Week” a nationwide ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Iraqi-Iranian eight years war. On Friday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian air forces conducted aerial trainings in the Arab Gulf.
A number of civilians including women and children, who were watching the military parade, were among those who were wounded.
“Terrorists began shooting from a long distance while inside the park, at the armed forces as well as civilians watching the parade,” Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarch, a spokesperson for the Iranian armed forces told MEHR news agency.
The Patriotic Arab Democratic movement in Ahwaz claimed responsibility for the attack. Iran accuses the movement of affiliating to Saudi Arabia.
“None of the authorities were injured in the incident due to the fast reaction of the security forces,” Governor of Khuzestan Gholam-Reza Shariati told IRNA. He added that “the terrorist team was annihilated, two of them were killed and other two were arrested. One of the detained terrorists is injured.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif promised on Saturday a swift and decisive response to the recent attack.
“Terrorists recruited, trained, armed, and paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz. Children and journos among casualties. Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks. Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.