Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say Saudi Arabia supported ISIS in the deadly twin attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, an accusation likely to infuriate the Saudi kingdom amid high tensions in the region.
At least 12 people were killed when six attackers mounted simultaneous gun and suicide bomb assaults on Iran’s Parliament building and the tomb of the republic’s revolutionary founder, in one of the most audacious assaults to hit Tehran in decades. The targets were highly symbolic.
Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite-majority Iran have long had a sectarian feud. The rivals are on opposite sides of violent conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, and given the tensions, Iran’s implication about the attack isn’t a great shock.
The attack shocked Tehran: Until now, Iran has largely escaped the regular assaults launched against other participants in Syria’s civil war. In a region plagued by sectarian violence, residents of the capital have lived in a peaceful oasis.
The violence began at about 10 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) when gunmen apparently dressed as women stormed the main gate of the Parliament building in central Tehran and opened fire, Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari told state television.
The attackers took a number of hostages and at least one detonated a suicide bomb. Sporadic gunfire was heard before Iranian authorities declared the situation under control about four hours later. All four attackers were killed by security forces, Fars reported.
At the same time as the Parliament attack was launched, a shooting spree and suicide bombing targeted the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away, on the southern outskirts of the Iranian capital. Fars reported that one person was arrested at the tomb.
Gruesome video footage from inside Iran’s Parliament during the attack was published by Amaq and appears to have been filmed on a phone by one of the gunmen.
The video opens by showing a quick shot of a man carrying an assault-style rifle walking out of an office, while a bloodied body of a man lies on the office floor. Shots are then fired either at or near the body, even though it appears the victim is already dead.