A pair of explosions on Wednesday at a commemoration for Iran’s former top military general Qassim Suleimani killed at least 103 people and wounded another 171, according to Iranian officials. The blasts sowed fear and grief in Iran and heightened tensions in the broader region even further a day after an explosion killed several Hamas officials in a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon.
The blasts, which state television called a “terrorist attack”, came with tensions running high in the Middle East a day after Hamas number two Saleh al-Aruri — an Iran ally — was killed in a Beirut drone strike which Lebanese officials blamed on Israel.
Iranian officials told state media that a pair of bombs placed in bags along the road toward the cemetery in Kerman, Iran, had exploded as a procession of people was on its way there to commemorate the four-year anniversary of General Suleimani’s assassination by the United States. The officials said the bags appeared to have been detonated via remote control, leaving bodies in pieces on the ground.
Given the sheer scale of the blasts, which state media described as a terrorist attack, the death toll was likely to rise.
Videos and photos of the explosions’ aftermath on state media showed widespread carnage and chaos, with sirens blaring and the injured — among them children — collapsing to the ground. Bloodied, several of the wounded screamed, “God help us. Everyone is killed.”