Takfiri terrorist attack on popular Shia shrine in south Iran kills over a dozen
More than a dozen people have been killed and several others injured after a heavily-armed terrorist attacked a popular Shia shrine in Iran’s southwestern province of Fars on Wednesday.
Esmail Mohebbi-Pour, the deputy director of political, security, and social affairs at Fars provincial governor’s office put the death toll at 15.
While details are still awaited, according to state media at least 40 others were injured in the attack on the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz, the sprawling funerary monument and pilgrimage site dating back to the 12th century that belongs to Ahmad bin Musa Kazim.
Providing details about the attack, which took place at around 5:45 p.m. local time (1415 GMT), the police commander of Fars province said the lone attacker opened indiscriminate fire at pilgrims inside the shrine and was himself wounded and arrested by security officials.
Nour News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran's top security body, said the militant who carried out the attack was a foreign national.
Earlier, there were reports that three terrorists had attacked visitors at the popular shrine that is thronged by both local and foreign pilgrims.
Iran’s official news agency IRNA said two children and a woman were among those killed in the terrorist attack. Their identity has not been disclosed yet.
Meanwhile, one of the eyewitnesses of the attack told reporters that loud screams were heard in the women's section of the shrine at the time of adhan (the call for prayer) and suddenly an armed man was spotted with a Kalashnikov firing indiscriminately in the compound of the shrine.
After the initial burst of fire, the attacker went near the shrine and fired many rounds at those present at the scene, the eyewitness said.
The governor of Fars province was quoted as saying that the terrorist first targeted the servant and guard of the shrine, and intended to attack the congregational evening prayers, but one of the servants shut the door on him.
He further said the shrine is presently being cleaned by the staff and will be open for morning congregational prayers.
Shiraz witnessed a massive explosion in 2008, when at least 14 people were killed and more than 200 others were injured during a religious gathering.