At least 20 killed in blasts near grave of slain Iranian general Soleimani

Twenty people are reported killed in two explosions that occurred in the central city of Kerman during the fourth anniversary of the death of Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020.

State TV says two explosions were heard near Soleimani’s burial place. The live broadcast showed thousands of mourners participating in the commemoration, with ambulances on site.

The semi-official Nournews says “several gas canisters exploded on the road leading to the cemetery.” A local official is quoted by Iranian state media as saying “it is not yet clear whether the explosions were caused by gas cylinders or a terrorist attack.”

State TV shows Red Crescent rescuers attending to wounded people at the ceremony, where hundreds of Iranians had gathered to mark the anniversary of Soleimani’s death. Some Iranian news agencies said at least 50 people were wounded.

“Our rapid response teams are evacuating the injured… But there are waves of crowds blocking roads,” Reza Fallah, head of the Kerman province Red Crescent tells state TV.

Soleimani was the architect of Iran’s regional military activities and is hailed as a national icon among supporters of Iran’s theocracy.

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