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Tehran Vows Swift, Decisive Response to Terrorist Attack on Military Parade in Iran's Ahvaz

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will respond “swiftly and decisively” in defense of its people, shortly after a terror attack claimed scores of lives in southern Iran.

 “Terrorists recruited, trained, armed, and paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz. Children and journos [are] among casualties,” Zarif tweeted on Saturday, according to Press TV.

 At least 24 people were killed and 53 others injured in a terrorist attack on a military parade in Iran’s southern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, a provincial governor said.

Gunmen opened fire on people from behind a viewing stand at Qods Boulevard of Ahvaz during the morning parade.

"Individuals disguised in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and Basij uniforms fired at officials and people from behind the stand, leaving a number of innocent people including women and children martyred or injured," Governor of Khuzestan Province Gholamreza Shariati said.

"So far, the martyrdom of 10 people has been verified in this subversive and blind attack," Deputy Governor of Khuzestan Province Ali Hosein Hoseinzadeh told the official IRNA news agency earlier in the day, adding that more than 20 people were injured in the incident, and it is possible that the number of the martyrs will rise due to the severity of injuries.

The attackers began firing at spectators from a park as the parade got underway, trying to force their way into the stand but were confronted by security forces.

"Despite the intensity of the attack on the stand of the officials, none of them was hurt thanks to the rapid reaction of the security forces, Shariati said.

The terrorist team behind the attack was dismantled, he said, adding the situation is now under the control of security forces and police and calm has returned to the region.

"According to preliminary reports, four attackers were involved, two of whom were killed and two arrested, one of them injured," Shariati said.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) spokesman Ramezan Sharif said the attackers were affiliated to a terrorist group supported by Saudi Arabia. 

"The individuals who fired at the people and the armed forces during the parade are connected to the al-Ahvaziya group which is fed by Saudi Arabia," he said.

Sharif said the shooting is not unprecedented and the group which is also supported by the UK has attacked convoys of those visiting the former frontlines of Saddam's war on Iran in recent years.

H.M

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