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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Iran's Revolutionary Guards fire missiles into Syria over deadly military parade attack

Iranian media said the attacks 'killed and wounded' militants, without elaborating further

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard fire missiles from Kermanshah in western Iran, targeting ISIS in Syria, in January 2018. On October 1, they fired more, in retaliation for the attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, on September 22. Sepahnews via AP
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard fire missiles from Kermanshah in western Iran, targeting ISIS in Syria, in January 2018. On October 1, they fired more, in retaliation for the attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, on September 22. Sepahnews via AP

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired missiles into eastern Syria on Monday, targeting militants it blames for the deadly attack on a military parade in Ahvaz.

The launch was the second missile attack on Syria in over a year.

Iranian media said the attacks "killed and wounded" militants in a "terrorist headquarters", without elaborating further.

"The headquarters of those responsible for the terrorist crime in Ahvaz was attacked a few minutes ago east of the Euphrates by several ballistic missiles fired by the aerospace branch of the Guardians of the Revolution," the IRGC said on their website.

State television and the state-run Irna news agency said the missile launches came after the Ahvaz attack, which killed 24 people and wounded more than 60.

Television footage showed a reporter standing by as one of the missiles was launched, identifying the area as being in Iran's western province of Kermanshah. A state TV-aired graphic suggested the missiles flew over central Iraq near the city of Tikrit before landing near the city of Abu Kamal, in the far south-east of Syria.

Abu Kamal is held by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad. However, the city has been targeted by ISIS militants, who have lost almost all their former territory in Syria and Iraq.

One missile on state television bore the slogans "Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Al Saud," referring to Saudi Arabia's ruling family. The missile also bore in Arabic the phrase "kill the friends of Satan", referring to a verse in the Quran on fighting infidels.

"This is the roaring of missiles belonging to the Revolutionary Guard of the Islamic Revolution," the TV reporter said, as the missiles launched behind him.

"In a few minutes, the world of arrogance – especially America, the Zionist regime and the Al Saud – will hear the sound of Iran's repeated blows."

The semi-official Fars news agency, close to the IRGC, said the the six missiles used were Zolfaghar and Qiam variants, which have ranges of 750 and 800 kilometres. The distance travelled would be up to 570km.

Iran also launched drone attacks on the site, state TV reported.

The attack adds to confusion over who carried out an assault on a military parade in Ahvaz on September 22. Iran initially blamed Arab separatists for the attack, in which gunmen disguised as soldiers opened fire on the crowd and the officials watching the parade in the south-western city. Arab separatists also immediately claimed the attack and offered details about one of the attackers, that turned out to be true.

ISIS also claimed responsibility for the assault, but initially made factually incorrect claims about it. Later, the group released footage of several men that Iran ultimately identified as attackers, although in the footage they did not pledge allegiance to the extremist group.

In announcing the attack, Iranian state media said the missiles targeted both "takfiri" militants – a term it often applies to ISIS – and Ahvazi separatists. The separatists have not been known to work with ISIS in the past.

Last Monday, the IRGC's acting commander Gen Hossein Salami vowed revenge against the perpetrators and what he called the "triangle" of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

This is the third time in the past couple of years that Iran has fired ballistic missiles in anger.

Last year, Iran fired ballistic missiles into Syria over a bloody ISIS attack on Tehran that targeted parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In September, Iran fired missiles into Iraq, targeting the base of an Iranian Kurdish separatist group. The separatists say that strike killed at 11 people and wounded 50.

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Read more:

Iran attack: a tangled web of claims and blame

US to withdraw missile-defence systems from the Middle East

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