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US privately warned Iran on terrorist attack ahead of twin suicide bombings

US privately warned Iran on terrorist attack ahead of twin suicide bombings

US privately warned Iran on terrorist attack ahead of twin suicide bombings

US privately warned Iran on terrorist attack ahead of twin suicide bombings

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  • The alert was issued after intelligence indicated ISIL’s Afghan affiliate was planning an attack on Iran.
  • Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence arrested at least 35 people after the bombings.
  • Iran claims both Israel and the US support anti-Iran armed groups involved in previous attacks.
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On Thursday, a US official revealed that the United States government had privately warned Iran about the preparation of a terrorist attack by ISIL (ISIS) ahead of the coordinated suicide bombings that claimed nearly 100 lives in the southeastern city of Kerman. Intelligence indicating that ISIL’s affiliate in Afghanistan was planning an attack on Iran prompted the issuance of a confidential alert.

“The US government, following a longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy implemented across administrations to caution governments against potential lethal threats,” said the anonymous official. “We provide these warnings in part because we do not want to see innocent lives lost in terror attacks.”

On January 3, perpetrators executed two suicide bombings in Kerman during a memorial for the slain commander Qassem Soleimani, who fell victim to a US drone attack in 2020. Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), fell victim to a strike in Iraq ordered by then-US President Donald Trump. The ISIL armed group claimed responsibility for the attack in Kerman on January 4, located about 820km (510 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran.

After the bombings, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of at least 35 people across the country. The alleged ringleader, identified as a Tajik national with the alias Abdollah Tajiki, was said to have entered Iran in mid-December by crossing the southeastern border. Two days before the attack, he left after constructing the bombs, as stated in a ministry statement.

Following the attacks, Iranian forces targeted locations in Iraq and Syria, purportedly linked to ISIL. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed that among the targets was the alleged headquarters of the Israeli spy agency Mossad in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Tehran often asserts that both Israel and the US support anti-Iran armed groups involved in previous attacks. In 2022, ISIL claimed responsibility for an attack on an Iranian Shia shrine that resulted in 15 casualties. Notable earlier attacks attributed to ISIL include the 2017 twin bombings targeting Iran’s parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the republic.

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