Issued on • Modified
Dozens dead in double suicide bombing at mosque
At least 27 people were killed and hundreds more wounded when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a mosque in south-east Iran on Thursday night. The attack, which targeted Shia Muslims gathering at the Jamia mosque in the predominantly Sunni city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province, has been claimed by a Sunni rebel group.
The Jundullah (Soldiers of God) group says it carried out the attack in response to the recent execution of one of its leaders, according to an email sent to Al-Arabiya television station.
The two bombs were detonated one after another in front of the mosque, while worshippers were waiting to enter.
The blasts came as Muslims celebrated the birthday of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, on a day that is also designated an annual day of honour for Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
In addition to those killed, around 270 people were wounded in the attack, Health
Minister Marziah Vahid Dastjerdi told the Mehr news agency. At least 11 of the wounded are in critical condition, he said.
A number of Revolutionary Guard security officers were among the injured.
According to reports, one of the bombers was disguised as a woman.
"The attacker, dressed in women's clothing, was trying to get into the mosque, but was prevented," Zahedan MP Hossein Ali Shahriari told Fars news agency.
"When people came to rescue those hit in that blast, another bomber blew himself up."
Jundullah claims to fight for the rights of the Sunni Baluch minority. The group has a history of carrying out violent attacks in Sistan-Baluchestan province.
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was quick to condemn what she described as a "horrific" attack.
Calling for the perpetrators to be held accountable, Clinton's statement said that the violence "underscores the global community's need to work together to combat terrorist organisations that threaten the lives of innocent civilians all around the world".