ISIS claimed responsibility for a pair of Wednesday attacks in Tehran in which suicide bombers and teams of gunmen stormed Iran’s parliament and the nearby shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, killing at least 12 and injuring dozens of others.

This is the first attack orchestrated by ISIS in the Islamic Republic, SITE Intel Group reported. It wasn’t initially clear if the death count, reported by state broadcaster IRIB, included the attackers.

In a rare and stunning move, ISIS released video from inside the parliament building while the attack was under way.  The video, circulated online, shows a gunman and a bloody, lifeless body of a man lying on the ground next to a desk. A voice on the video praises God and says in Arabic: “Do you think we will leave? We will remain, God willing.” Another voice repeats the same words. The two appeared to be parroting a slogan used by IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who was killed in Syria last year.

The parliament assault ended Wednesday morning with all four attackers there being killed.

One of the terrorists blew himself up inside the parliament building, where a session had been in progress, according to a statement carried by Iran state TV. It quoted lawmaker Elias Hazrati as saying the attackers were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

An Associated Press reporter saw several police snipers on the rooftops of buildings around parliament. Shops in the area were shuttered, and gunfire could be heard. Witnesses said the attackers were shooting from the fourth floor of the parliament building down at people in the streets below.

“I was passing by one of the streets. I thought that children were playing with fireworks, but I realized people are hiding and lying down on the streets,” Ebrahim Ghanimi, who was around the parliament building when the assailants stormed in, told The Associated Press. “With the help of a taxi driver, I reached a nearby alley.”

Police helicopters circled over the parliament building and all mobile phone lines from inside were disconnected. The semi-official ISNA news agency said all entrance and exit gates at parliament were closed and that lawmakers and reporters were ordered to remain in place inside the chamber.

State TV reported four attackers were involved in the parliament attack.

Iran’s official state broadcaster said a security guard was killed and four people wounded in the shrine attack. It said one of the attackers at the shrine was killed by security guards and that a woman was arrested. It described the shrine attackers as “terrorists” and said one carried out a suicide bombing, without providing further details.

In addition to being lethal, the attack on the shrine of Khomeini is symbolically stunning. As Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Khomeini is a towering figure in the country and was its revolutionary leader in the 1979 ouster of the shah.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



BBC News

Iran attacks leave 12 dead at parliament and Khomeini mausoleum

Media captionGunfire could be heard from outside the parliament in Iran

Twin attacks on the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in the capital, Tehran, have killed at least 12 people and injured many more.

The assault on the parliament building appears to be over, after earlier reports of a hostage situation. A suicide bomber died at the mausoleum.

Iranian officials say they foiled a third attack.

The so-called Islamic State group (IS) has claimed it carried out the attacks, which would be a first in Iran.

IS later posted a video which showed what it claimed is footage from inside the parliament building.

Latest updates

Iranian media reported that four attackers inside the parliament building had been killed by security forces.

It is not clear whether the death toll of 12 includes the attackers.

Gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs entered the parliament on Wednesday morning. Images from the scene show a major security operation.

On video filmed outside parliament heavy gunfire could be heard.

Reports said the gunmen had entered parliament via a public entrance, dressed as women.

Picture shows explosion outside at the mausoleum
This image, posted by Fars News, shows an explosion taking place outside the mausoleum. JAMARANNEWS/FARS

At around 10:40 (06:10 GMT) attackers at the mausoleum in southern Tehran, which is dedicated to the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini, opened fire.

The governor of Tehran said one attacker there had detonated a suicide vest and another had been killed by security forces, state broadcaster Irib reports.

Images from the scene showed grenades and magazines for automatic weapons, apparently recovered from the body of an attacker.

There are reports that at least one of the attackers was female, or possibly just dressed as a woman.

Several members of the public, visiting the shrine, have been injured.

Map of Tehran showing parliament and shrine

Background – by Jenny Norton, BBC Persian

This is the most serious terrorist violence in Tehran since the turbulent early years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

It will come as a huge shock to ordinary Iranians, who have got used to living in a country which is generally far more stable and safe than most of its neighbours.

Despite Iran’s active involvement in fighting IS in both Iraq and Syria, the Sunni group has not so far carried out any attacks inside Iran, and appears to have little support in this predominantly Shia country.

However, in recent months the group has stepped up its Farsi-language propaganda efforts – targeting Iran’s restive Sunni minority, and the Iranian intelligence agencies claim to have foiled an number of IS-inspired plots.

Analysis – from BBC Monitoring’s Jihadist Media Team

IS has this year released a number of propaganda pieces focused on inciting attacks inside Iran.

An IS documentary-style video in March featured militants who were introduced as Iranian fighters in IS ranks based in Iraq.

Speaking in Farsi, they denounced the Iranian government and the religious establishment, including the country’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

By mounting a successful attack, IS could claim a major coup against a traditional foe that other Sunni jihadist groups, including its rival al-Qaeda, have failed to target in the past.

Iranian policemen try to help some civilians fleeing from the parliament building during an attack in Tehran, Iran, 07 June 2017
This image appears to show a child being lowered from a window of Iran’s parliament building. EPA
File photo of people attending a commemoration to mark the 18th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, at his mausoleum in Tehran (June 2007)
There are conflicting reports about events at the mausoleum, in south Tehran AFP