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Iran: Deadly blasts near grave of slain Qassem Soleimani

Iran: Deadly blasts near grave of slain Qassem Soleimani
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Wednesday, 03 January, 2024, 18:18

At least 73 people have died after explosions were heard near the grave of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Wednesday, the anniversary of his killing, Iran's state television has reported.

It's a jump from an earlier death toll of at least 20. More than 150 were also reportedly injured.

The explosions, which took place in quick succession, reportedly detonated near the Saheb al-Zaman Mosque in Kerman in southern Iran, where Soleimani is buried.

The SNN news agency reported that ambulances headed toward the cemetery, where hundreds had gathered to mark the anniversary of Soleimani's death in a US drone strike at Baghdad Airport in 2020.

As commander of the Quds Force, Soleimani was the head of foreign operations of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and seen as an icon by supporters of Iran's theocracy. At his funeral in 2020, at least 56 people died in a stampede that also injured hundreds.

Rahman Jalali, the deputy governor of Kerman province, told state TV that the blasts were "a terrorist attack," though he did not elaborate on possible perpetrators.