15 killed in Shiraz shrine attack: Iranian state media | ISIL/ISIS News

15 killed in Shiraz shrine attack: Iranian state media | ISIL/ISIS News

The attack hit the Shah Cheragh Temple in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, killing at least two children.

At least 15 people were killed and 40 injured in an attack on a Shiite religious temple in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, the country’s state media agency IRNA reported.

The report said the attack, which took place at the Shah Cheragh Temple early on Wednesday evening, was carried out by three armed men who entered the shrine.

Two attackers were caught, and one is still on the run.

ISIL (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on its Telegram channel.

Nour news, an Iranian state-linked media outlet, previously reported that the attackers were not Iranian nationals.

The Fars news agency reported that one woman and two children were among those killed in Shiraz.

“We were getting ready to pray and then we heard gunshots, we tried to escape from the other side and then I realized I was bleeding,” a witness and survivor of the attack told Al Jazeera.

“I couldn’t see who was shooting… It started from the street, and then they came towards the temple and shot whoever they saw. I saw some wounded and killed, but I did not see the attackers,” he said.

Fouad Izadi, an associate professor at Tehran University’s Faculty of World Studies, said the aim of the shooting was “to attack the faithful”.

“This is the hallmark of ISIS – they attack mosques, they attack shrines,” Izadi said.

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, said the shrine was an important site for religious pilgrims.

Shiraz is a popular pilgrimage and tourism destination, and the last such attack in the city was in April 2008, when a bomb planted in a mosque killed 14 people.

“This is a very rare incident that is happening at a very important time in Iran, when security is on high alert given the number of protests taking place across the country,” Jabbari said.

Wednesday’s attack came as Iran continues to face protests following the September death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who died after being detained by the country’s morality police for wearing an “inappropriate hijab”.

Wednesday marked 40 days since Amini died and saw thousands of people gather in Amini’s hometown in northwestern Iran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the attack in Shiraz will not go unanswered, reports the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

“Experience shows that Iran’s enemies, after failing to create a split in the united ranks of the nation, take revenge with violence and terror. This evil will definitely not go unanswered and security and law enforcement agencies will teach a lesson to those who masterminded the attack,” Raisi said.

In June, Iran hanged a Sunni man who was sentenced to death for killing two Shiite clerics and wounding another in early April, the judiciary said at the time.

A 21-year-old citizen of Uzbek origin carried out a knife attack on April 5 at the Imam Reza Shrine, which honors one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.

The killings took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when large crowds of worshipers gathered at the shrine in Iran’s second-largest city of Mashhad.

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