Islamic State claims responsbility for twin attacks on parliament and tomb of late revolutionary leader in Iranian capital
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks within two hours, publishing a brief video that purported to show the attackers inside the parliament. If an Isis role is confirmed it would be the first attack conducted by the terror group inside majority Shia Iran.
The violence unfolded at about 10 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) when gunmen apparently dressed as women stormed the main gate of the parliament building in central Tehran and opened fire, Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari told state television.
The attackers took a number of hostages and at least one detonated a suicide bomb. Sporadic gunfire was heard before Iranian authorities declared the situation under control about four hours later. All four attackers were killed by security forces, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
At the same time as the parliament attack was launched, a shooting spree and suicide bombing targeted the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away, on the southern outskirts of the Iranian capital. Fars reported that one person was arrested at the tomb.
The parliament attack began when four gunmen armed with rifles burst into the building complex. One of the attackers reportedly blew himself up inside as police surrounded the building.
Gunfire could be heard from outside, as police helicopters circled overhead, entrance and exit gates were closed, and mobile phone lines from inside were disconnected.
“I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly,” one journalist at the scene, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
MPs continued scheduled sessions in another part of the complex. Deputy interior minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari told Iran’s state TV that the attackers were dressed as women in order to gain entry.
About five hours after the first reports, Iranian news agencies said all four were dead and the incident was over, after unconfirmed reports of a hostage situation.