Shah Cheragh attack

The Shah Cheragh attack (Persian: حمله به حرم شاه‌چراغ) was a mass shooting that occurred on 26 October 2022 at Shah Cheragh mosque, a Shia pilgrimage site in Shiraz in southern Iran, in which at least 13 people were killed.[2]

Shah Cheragh attack
22-حمله تروریستی در شاهچراغ.jpg
Bloodstains over the floor of Shah Cheragh, Iran, along with Chador and shoe of a victim.
LocationShiraz, Fars province, Iran
Coordinates29°36′35″N 52°32′35″E / 29.60976°N 52.543°E / 29.60976; 52.543Coordinates: 29°36′35″N 52°32′35″E / 29.60976°N 52.543°E / 29.60976; 52.543
Date26 October 2022 (2022-10-26)
TargetShi'ites
Attack type
Mass shooting
WeaponsAKMS style rifle
Deaths13
Injured40+
PerpetratorsIslamic State claimed responsibility[1]
No. of participants
1 armed gunmen, killed by Iranian security forces
Motive

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.[3] Iranian authorities condemned the attacks[4] and accused the protestors of Mahsa Amini's death of paving the way for such attacks to occur.[5][6]

BackgroundEdit

Iran is a Shia Islamic theocracy that has suffered from terrorist attacks by Sunni Islamists and separatists in the past.[7][8][9] In April 2022, two Shia clerics were stabbed to death in Mashhad; the perpetrator was allegedly a radical Sunni Uzbek.[10] In 2017, ISIS bombed the mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini.[10] In 2008, another bombing in a mosque in Shiraz killed 14.[11]

AttackEdit

On 26 October 2022, either 13 or 15 people were killed in a mass shooting at Shah Cheragh mausoleum in Shiraz, Fars province, Iran.[2][12] The Iranian semi-official Tasnim News Agency stated that children were among the dead.[13]

The three attackers are described by Iranian state media as appearing to be takfiri terrorists. Two attackers have been arrested; the other is at large. Later the same day, Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.[14] The Iranian authorities stated that the attackers were not Iranian nationals.[13]

Conflicting reports from the local judiciary chief suggest that only one terrorist was involved.[15]

CasualtiesEdit

 
Artin Saraidaran, who lost his parents and his brother in the mass shooting incident.

Sources report either thirteen or fifteen people as being killed as a result of the mass shooting,[16][2] including children.[13]

PerpetratorEdit

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack[14] via Amaq, the group's propaganda media.[17] A report by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said ISIS had uploaded a video of the perpetrator declaring allegiance to the Islamic State.[18] According to Voice of America Persian News Network, some Iranian protestors speculated that this terrorist attack was a conspiracy of the Iranian government to divert public opinion from Iran's nationwide protests.[19] However, Mohammad Gharawi, director of the New Generation Media Center said that ISIS "is now taking revenge for the fact that Iran contributed to its elimination in Iraq and Syria".[20]

Associate professor Fouad Izadi, member of the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran, said the attack was "an ISIS trademark" as the group was known for attacking mosques and shrines in the past.[11] On the other hand, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the attack does not match the typical ISIS pattern and views it as an attempt to stoke sectarian tensions in Iran. Regardless of who is behind the attack, it expects the Iranian government to exploit it to weaken and/or suppress the ongoing Mahsa Amini protests.[21]

ReactionsEdit

DomesticEdit

Funeral of Shah Cheragh shooting victims
Coffins of the victims of the Shah Cheragh mass shooting incident

Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei called on Iranians to unite and vowed to punish the perpetrators of the attack.[22] Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi blamed the Mahsa Amini protests for paving the ground for the attack on the mausoleum but this has not been fully confirmed.[16] Officials in the Fars province, where the attack took place, declared three days of mourning.[23] Iran's President, Ebrahim Raisi said "Experience shows that Iran's enemies, after failing to create a split in the nation's united ranks, take revenge through violence and terror."[24]

Iranian authorities organized rallies in Shiraz and elsewhere in the country to denounce the shooting.[25] According to state-affiliated media "large numbers of students and professors" reportedly took part in demonstrations denouncing the Shiraz terrorist attack.[25]

InternationalEdit

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the terrorist assault on the Shah Cheragh Holy Shrine in Shiraz, Iran, which is claimed by the Islamic State. The message said that targeting religious places is heinous and the Secretary-General emphasized: "bring[ing] to justice the perpetrators of this crime against civilians exercising their right to practice their religion". Also, the Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the bereaved families, the Iranian people, and the Iranian government wished a swift recovery for the injured.[26]

Oman offered condolences to the government and people of Iran.[27] Pakistan condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with the Iranian people.[28] Lebanon called for the punishment of those responsible even if those responsible are their own citizens.[29] Turkey denounced the "heinous and cruel terrorist attack."[30] Finland said that it was "Deeply saddened by the terrorist attack at the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz" and it "strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations".[31] India strongly condemned the attack and extended condolences to Iran and urged the world "unite and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations".[32]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Fifteen dead in Iran attack on Shiite shrine". France 24. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "استاندار فارس: دو نفر از کشته‌شدگان شاهچراغ را اشتباهی دوبار شمردیم". ایران اینترنشنال (in Persian). Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Islamic State claims responsibility for shrine attack in Iran". Reuters. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  4. ^ "Iran's Khamenei vows revenge after deadly attack on Shi'ite pilgrims". Reuters. 27 October 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  5. ^ "Iranian leaders try to blame protests for gun attack on mosque that killed 15". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  6. ^ "احمد وحیدی: اغتشاشات اخیر توسط دشمن به مسیر خطرناکی می‌رود". پایگاه اطلاع رسانی دیارمیرزا (in Persian). 26 October 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  7. ^ "Iran / Mashhad Bombing | Vanderbilt Television News Archive". tvnews.vanderbilt.edu. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  8. ^ Human Rights Watch Report, 'Afghanistan, the massacre in Mazar-e-Sharif', November 1998.
  9. ^ Segall, Michael (24 July 2016). "Ethnic Opposition to Iran's Regime Is on the Rise". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
  10. ^ a b "Fifteen killed in attack on Shia mausoleum in southern Iran". BBC News.
  11. ^ a b "Attack on Shiraz shrine kills 15: Iranian state media". Al-Jazeera English.
  12. ^ "Fifteen killed in attack on Shia mausoleum in southern Iran". BBC News. 27 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  13. ^ a b c "Iran: gunmen kill at least 15 people at Shia shrine in Shiraz". The Guardian. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Attack on Shiraz shrine kills 15: Iranian state media". Aljazeera. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  15. ^ "Fifteen killed in attack on Shia mausoleum in southern Iran". BBC News. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  16. ^ a b Hafezi, Parisa (27 October 2022). "Islamic State claims Iran shrine attack, Iran vows response". Reuters. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Several people killed as gunmen open fire at shrine in Iran's Shiraz". France 24. 26 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  18. ^ "The Islamic State Attacks the Islamic Republic". The Washington Institute. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  19. ^ "حمله مسلحانه به شاه‌چراغ؛ منابع رسمی: ۱۵ تن کشته شدند؛ تردید کاربران در صحت روایت حکومتی". Voice of America (in Persian). 26 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  20. ^ "Shrine Attack in Iran".
  21. ^ "Institute for the Study of War".
  22. ^ "Iran's Khamenei vows revenge after deadly attack on Shi'ite pilgrims". Reuters.
  23. ^ "'Islamic State' claims deadly attack on Iran Shiite shrine".
  24. ^ "Islamic State claims Iran shrine attack, Iran vows response".
  25. ^ a b Motamedi, Maziar. "Protests persist as Iran holds first court sessions for 'rioters'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  26. ^ "Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General – on the attack at Shah Cheragh Holy Shrine in Shiraz, Iran | United Nations Secretary-General". www.un.org. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Oman expresses sympathy to families of victims and Iranian government over attack on Shah Cheragh shrine".
  28. ^ "Terrorist Attack at a religious site in Shiraz".
  29. ^ "Lebanon condemns the attack claimed by the Islamic State in Shiraz".
  30. ^ "Türkiye condemns 'heinous, cruel' armed attack in Iran".
  31. ^ "Iran unites to condemn terrorism in Shiraz".
  32. ^ "India 'Strongly Condemns' Terror Attack At Shah-E-Cherag Shrine In Iran's Shiraz".

External linksEdit