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Thousands mourn Ahvaz victims as Iran vows revenge

Mourners gather for a mass funeral for those who died in a terror attack on a military parade in Iran in Ahvaz, Iran, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.
AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Thousands of people gathered Monday morning in the south-western Iranian city of Ahvaz for the funeral of those killed during an attack on a military parade as senior military figures vowed a “crushing” response against those behind the assault.

Four militants attacked a Saturday parade marking the start of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, spraying the crowd with gunfire and killing 24 people.

State TV reported that 12 of the 24 dead would be buried in Ahvaz, about 560 kilometers (350 miles) south of Tehran, while the others will be buried in their home towns.

Speakers included the wartime commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Lieutenant General Mohsen Rezai, deputy IRGC chief Brigadier General Hossein Salami and Intelligence Minister Mahmood Alavi.

AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

“You have seen our revenge before,” Salami was quoted as saying by Reuters. “You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done.”

Iranian authorities have blamed an Arab separatist group Al-Ahvaziya and accused the United States, Israel and Gulf Arab monarchies of backing Saturday's "terrorist" attack.

The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility, but that was dismissed by Tehran.

Intelligence minister Alavi said several suspects had already been arrested. “We will bring to justice each one of the terrorists,” he told the crowd, according to Tasnim.

Mourners carried pictures of the dead along with banners reading "we will stand to the end" and "no to terrorism".

AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Mehdi Pedramkhoo

AFP reporters saw members of the public and the military carrying coffins draped in the Iranian flag, some bearing pictures of the deceased.

Some also chanted “death to America” and “death to Israel” according to Reuters.

Some waved the flags of Arab tribes from the region as sign of solidarity with the victims.

The ceremony in front of the Sarallah Mosque was attended by thousands of people including soldiers, clerics and officials.

On Sunday Iran summoned diplomats from the Netherlands, Denmark and Britain, who Iran accused of failing to act against alleged members of Al-Ahvaziya resident in each country.

(Staff with AFP)

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