WORLD NEWS

At least 103 killed in blasts near Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani’s grave

Jan 3, 2024, 10:02 AM

Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in January 2020.
Mandatory Credit:	Press Office of Iranian S...

Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in January 2020. Mandatory Credit: Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

(CNN) — At least 103 people were killed Wednesday and 141 injured in the Iranian city of Kerman after twin blasts near the burial site of slain military commander Qasem Soleimani, in what officials called a terror attack.

The blasts, at least one of which was caused by a bomb, state TV said, came on the fourth anniversary of Soleimani’s death in a US air strike, and threatens to accelerate tensions in the region that have spiked since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The first explosion was 2,300 feet (700 meters) from Soleimani’s grave, and the second was 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) away as pilgrims visited the site, IRNA added.

Soleimani was killed by a US airstrike ordered by former President Donald Trump at Baghdad International Airport four years ago Wednesday.

IRINN, another state television channel, reported that the first explosion near the grave of Soleimani was caused by a bomb placed in a suitcase inside a Peugeot 405 car, and appeared to be detonated remotely.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the first explosion happened at 3:00 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) during an interview with Iran’s state news channel IRIB. Vahidi said the second, more deadly blast took place 20 minutes later, when other pilgrims came to help the injured.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Videos posted on Iranian state media showed large crowds running in the area after the explosion.

Footage also showed bloodied bodies being transported from the scene, and ambulances leaving the site through large crowds.

Iran declared Thursday a day of mourning following the blasts.

Formerly one of Iran’s most powerful men, Soleimani was head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, an elite unit that handles Iran’s overseas operations and was deemed to be a foreign terrorist organization by the US.

The Pentagon says Soleimani and his troops were “responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

Known as Iran’s “shadow commander,” Soleimani – who had led the Quds Force since 1998 – was the mastermind of Iranian military operations in Iraq and Syria.

Blast comes at tense moment in region

The blast occurred amid heightened tensions in the region as Israel fights a three-month war against Hamas in Gaza prompted by the militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel.

That war has left more than 23,000 people dead in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in the enclave, and has led to skirmishes beyond Israel and Gaza, often involving Iran-backed militias.

On Tuesday, a senior Hamas leader was killed in a suburb of Beirut in a blast that a US official told CNN was carried out by Israel. Israel hasn’t confirmed or denied involvement but Hamas and the militant group Hezbollah, which controls the suburb, blamed Israel and have vowed revenge.

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to deliver a speech on Wednesday, his third since the war broke out. The speech was announced before the Beirut attack.

Last week, Iran and several of its armed proxies accused Israel of assassinating a senior Iranian commander in Syria, vowing retaliation. Israel didn’t comment on the matter.

Israel accuses Tehran of funding and arming Hamas. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said last month that his country is in a “multi-arena war,” being attacked from seven arenas, including Iran. “We have already responded and acted in six of these decrees” he said.

On Wednesday, Russian President Putin condemned “terrorism in all its forms” in a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi after the blasts. Putin, who is the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, has been accused by Kyiv and international bodies of numerous acts of terror during his war in Ukraine.

The United States has also stepped up its military involvement in the Middle East recently. Last month, the military carried out airstrikes on Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah and “affiliated groups” in Iraq after an attack injured three US troops.

And last week, US helicopters sank three boats belonging to Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea after coming under fire, killing those on board. The event marked the first time since tensions broke out earlier last year that the US killed members of the rebel group.

The White House said it wasn’t seeking a wider conflict. The Houthis have carried out several attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea in retaliation for Israel’s assault on Hamas, disrupting trade in one of the world’s most important waterways.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

World News

The 2002 Olympic cauldron at the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at the University of Utah in...

Lisa Riley Roche

Utah is now one vote away from hosting the 2034 Winter Games. Here’s what just happened

Utah’s bid to host the 2034 Winter Games is headed to a final vote by the International Olympic Committee in July.

10 seconds ago

YEONCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 08:  (SOUTH KOREA OUT) A loudspeaker is seen at a military base ne...

Associated Press

Bizarre psychological warfare using K-pop and trash balloons raises tensions between the 2 Koreas

Day after day, the Cold War-style yet bizarre campaigns continue at the heavily fortified border of the rivals who haven’t had any serious talks for years. Here is a look at the latest flare-up of tensions between the two Koreas.

17 hours ago

The 8th largest geothermal plant in the world, Hellisheidi, located in Iceland....

Mike Anderson

Utah is looking to Iceland to map the state’s geothermal potential

A Utah delegation is visiting Iceland to see if the country could help the Beehive State achieve cleaner energy through geothermal energy. 

18 hours ago

The Utah delegation taking a tour of a geothermal well in Iceland....

Mike Anderson

Utah delegation studies future geothermal potential in Iceland

More than a dozen Utah leaders visited Iceland to understand better how the country uses geothermal and renewable energy, intending to bring that knowledge to the Beehive State.

2 days ago

A German armed forces solider during the "National Guardian" military exercise at the Bundeswehr's ...

Sophie Tanno and Nadine Schmidt, CNN

Mandatory conscription and subway stations as bunkers: Germany outlines wartime plans

For the first time since the Cold War, Germany has updated its plans should conflict erupt in Europe.

3 days ago

American Tyler Thompson Jr, center, sits in court in Kinshasa, Friday, June 7, 2024. Three American...

Christina Malkia, Jessica Donati and Hannah Schoenbaum, Associated Press

Two Utahns implicated in a coup attempt in Congo go on trial before a military court

The military trial of 51 suspects, including three Americans, accused of being involved in a coup attempt in Congo last month has opened in the country's capital of Kinshasa.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

At least 103 killed in blasts near Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani’s grave