Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Iran Blames US For Suicide Bombing That Kills 39 In Eastern Province

Iran has been beset by a rash of suicide bombings and attacks. Some have surmised that the regime headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been resorting to the terror attacks to keep the populace in line and to eliminate rivals or send messages to those rivals to fly right.

The latest attack killed at least 39 people near a Shia mosque close to the Pakistani border. Iran blames the US, claiming that sophisticated equipment was recovered.
“The advanced equipment and facilities of the perpetrators show that this attack was supported by the regional intelligence services of the United States,” said Ali Abdolahi, deputy for security at the Interior Ministry, in comments published on the official IRNA news agency Web site.

Mr. Abdolahi confirmed earlier news reports that two bombers detonated explosive-packed belts on Wednesday morning among crowds that had gathered outside the Imam Hussein Mosque in the city of Chabahar near the border with Pakistan. One of the attackers was said to have been identified by police and shot before setting off his explosives, to little effect. Reports from semi-official news agencies said that a third attacker was arrested by police.

The bombing coincided with the mourning period leading up to Ashura, which commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. The mourning period is marked in many countries including Iraq and Pakistan where Shiite mourners have also been the targets of terrorist attacks in recent years.

A local medical official released the names of 22 of the victims, including several women and a three-month-old child. Most of those killed are thought to have been participants in a Shiite mourning parade organized by the local fisheries association.

The city of Chabahar, one of the largest in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan, has a largely ethnic Baluch population who are Sunni. The city is not known for being a target of terrorist attacks, which mainly focus on the provincial capital Zahedan. Chabahar has in recent years seen a growth in prosperity as a result of domestic tourism and a successful free trade zone.
The nature and location of the attack could point not towards the West, but to the usual Sunni-Shia schism and sectarian violence that has persisted for more than 1,000 years. Iran will try to spin this as an attack by the US against Iran, even though an attack on an obscure town's Ashura procession doesn't exactly suggest Western involvement. It may be one of several Iranian domestic terror groups, counterrevolutionary groups, or Pakistani terror groups that are hoping to sow more discord and reignite sectarian tensions.

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