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Source: Guardian

Aug 13, 2023

Gunman kills one and injures eight in attack on Shah Cheragh shrine in Iran

Governor says man has been detained after attack on Shia shrine in southern city of Shiraz

A gunman opened fire on Sunday night at a prominent shrine in southern Iran, killing one person and wounding eight others in an attack that followed another assault there months earlier, authorities said.

Officials offered no immediate motive for the attack in the city of Shiraz at Shah Cheragh, which draws Shia pilgrims to its domed mosque and the tomb of a prominent member of the faith from its earliest days.

Iran has faced attacks in the past from the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State group, who view Shia muslims as heretics. Iran also faces lingering unrest and economic turmoil amid tensions with the west.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said Ismail Qezelsofla, a deputy governor for security in the country’s Fars province, had given the casualty toll.

Fars province governor, Mohammad Hadi Imanieh, told Iranian state television that a single gunman had carried out the attack and later was detained by security forces.

He did not give any motive for the attack in his brief comments.Footage after the attack showed security forces surrounding one entrance to the then-deserted courtyard of Shah Cheragh.

Ambulances later took away the wounded as security forces and government officials arrived at the shrine.Shah Cheragh is one of Iran’s top five Shia shrines. It draws pilgrims to Shiraz, which is 420 miles (675km) south of Iran’s capital, Tehran.No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack on Sunday night comes after an October 2022 attack on the same shrine killed 13 people and wounded dozens of others.

The Islamic State group claimed that assault, which Iran said had been carried out by a man from Tajikistan, who later died in a hospital after succumbing to injuries suffered while being detained by security forces.

Iran has backed Syria’s embattled Bashar Assad during his country’s civil war.

It also fought Islamic State fighters there and in Iraq.The worst assault by Islamic State militants in Iran came in June 2017, when gunmen stormed the parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in Tehran, killing at least 18 people and wounding more than 50.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989.

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