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Over 100 killed in two explosions near late Iranian commander's tomb during ceremony


 , Updated 22:48, 03-Jan-2024

Two explosions killed at least 100 people and wounded over 170 in Kerman, Iran, where a ceremony was being held to mark the 2020 death of the country's then-top commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone attack, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), the blasts occurred in an underpass one kilometer away from the burial ground as people were paying homage to the late commander on his fourth assassination anniversary. The first one was heard at 3:04 p.m. local time, and the second one a few minutes later at 3:17 p.m., IRINN said.

According to the report, the cause of the blasts has not been determined yet, and rescue teams have been sent to the scene.

It added that most of the injuries had been sustained due to overcrowding and people panicking.

"The blasts were caused by terrorist attacks," Iranian state media quoted a local official in the Kerman province as saying.

The semi-official Nournews had said earlier that "several gas canisters exploded on the road leading to the cemetery."

On January 3, 2020, the U.S. military assassinated Soleimani and the deputy commander of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a drone strike near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. Iran condemned the assassination as an act of "state terrorism."

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: Iranians disperse near the site where two explosions struck a crowd marking the anniversary of the 2020 killing of the country's then-top commander Qasem Soleimani in Kerman, Iran, January 3, 2024. /CFP)

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