Several dead, dozens wounded after unknown gunmen attack military parade in Iran

Several dead, dozens wounded after unknown gunmen attack military parade in Iran

Several dead, dozens wounded after unknown gunmen attack military parade in Iran

State television blamed "takfiri elements", a reference to Islamist militants, for the attack in Ahvaz, the centre of Khuzestan province, which has been the site of sporadic protests by Iran's Arab minority.

A group of gunmen opened fire on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, killing several people and wounding at least 20 more, local and state news agencies reported.

Iranian state television said the assault, which killed 24 and wounded more than 60 people, targeted a stand where officials were gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic's 1980-88 war with Iraq.

Following a deadly attack on a military parade in southern Iran, the country's foreign minister said that regional sponsors of terrorism and their "US masters" are to be held accountable for such assaults.

"Security forces have restored security in the area but the parade has totally been disrupted", a reporter on the scene for Iranian state television said by phone in a live broadcast.

The attack has reportedly been carried out from outside of the parade perimeters, from a park overlooking the observation platform.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province.

The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack's aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.

But attacks on regime targets inside major cities are far rarer.

In April, 26 alleged Daesh militants went on trial on charges connected with that twin attack. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack in the city of Ahvaz. A journalist has also been said to be among the casualties.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani vowed earlier Saturday to boost his country's ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and USA bases in the Middle East.

Washington insists any deal should address Iran's ballistic missile programme and its "destabilising" and "malign" influence in the region, as well as concerns about it long-term nuclear ambitions. But Iran has repeatedly ruled out any meeting.

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