At least 15 people were killed in an attack on a Shia Muslim shrine in the Iranian city of Shiraz on Wednesday, state news agency IRNA said, as security forces elsewhere clashed with protesters marking 40 days since the death of Mahsa Amini.
Early reports of the attack gave varying accounts. The local police chief said there had been a single attacker, who had been arrested, while news agencies said three people were involved.
IRNA described them as “takfiri terrorists”, a label used by officials in predominantly Shia Muslim Iran to refer to hardline, armed Sunni groups. Nournews, affiliated with Iran’s top security body, said they were not Iranian nationals.
The attackers were in a car and shot at pilgrims and staff at the entrance to the shrine of Shah Cheragh, IRNA quoted witnesses as saying. Police arrested two of the three “terrorists” and were looking for the third.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said several women and children were among the dead.
The attack took place on the same day that Iranian security forces opened fire at mourners who gathered in Amini’s Kurdish home town of Saqez, according to a witness.
“Riot police shot mourners who gathered at the cemetery for Mahsa’s memorial ceremony … dozens have been arrested,” the witness said. Iranian authorities were not available to comment.
Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency said about 10,000 people had gathered at the cemetery, adding that the internet was cut off after clashes between security forces and people there.
Videos on social media showed thousands of Iranians marching towards the cemetery where Amini is buried despite the heavy presence of riot police. Activists had called for protests across the country to mark 40 days since she died after being detained for “inappropriate attire”.—Reuters