TEHRAN: Iran’s city of Kerman was shaken by two powerful explosions on Wednesday, claiming the lives of at least 73 people and leaving over 170 severely wounded. This tragic incident unfolded during a ceremony to commemorate the death of Iran’s most respected military commander, Qassem Soleimani, who was targeted in a 2020 US drone attack. The ceremony, held near the cemetery where Soleimani rests, turned into a harrowing scene as Iranian state television reported a sequence of deadly explosions. The initial explosion was succeeded by a second, intensifying the tragedy and instilling widespread panic among attendees, according to Iran’s official news agency Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Investigations Amidst Grief
As the nation mourns, authorities delve into comprehensive investigations to unravel the circumstances behind the explosions. The proximity to Soleimani’s final resting place adds complexity to the unfolding situation. An unnamed official revealed to the state news agency IRNA that “Two explosive devices planted along the road leading to Kerman’s Martyrs’ Cemetery were detonated remotely by terrorists.” No organization has claimed responsibility so far. Iran has labelled it a ”terrorist attack”, issuing a high alert and activating the military.
Twin Blasts Near Sahib al-Jaman Mosque
Local Iranian media reported a significant explosion near Sahib al-Jaman Mosque in the southern city of Kerman, followed by another blast shortly afterwards. Detailed information about the explosions is yet to emerge. The chaos following the explosions has claimed additional lives. Commander Qassem Soleimani is laid to rest in a cemetery near Sahib al-Jaman Mosque.
Qassem Soleimani: A Key Figure In Iran’s Military
Who Was General Soleimani?
General Soleimani held a paramount position in Iran, considered the second-most influential figure after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. As the chief commander of the elite Quds Force, the overseas branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Soleimani orchestrated covert operations abroad and played a crucial role in Iran’s mission to expel US forces from the Middle East.
Why Hamas And Hezbollah Revered Qassem Soleimani?
Soleimani’s responsibilities included overseeing the Quds Force’s covert operations, offering strategic direction, funding, weapons, intelligence, and logistical support to allied governments and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. He was regarded with reverence by these groups, while the US considered him a significant adversary.
Soleimani’s Assassination And Global Consequences
The 2020 drone assassination, ordered by then-US President Donald Trump, led to Soleimani being branded “the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world.” This event triggered a series of global consequences, pushing the United States and Iran to the brink of full-blown conflict. The subsequent tensions between Iran, Israel, and the US have persisted, with recent incidents heightening regional instability.
In the wake of the recent explosions in Kerman, the international community watches closely, pondering the broader implications and the potential involvement of external actors in this tragic event.