Kingpin in Tehran Terror Attacks Killed

Mahmoud AlaviMahmoud Alavi

The commander of a terrorist cell responsible for the twin Islamic State-claimed attacks in Tehran last Wednesday "was neutralized" Saturday in a joint operation involving security agents and "friends in fellow intelligence services".

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi made the announcement in a talk with state TV late Saturday.

The parliament and the mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, were targeted by two simultaneous attacks that left 17 dead and 56 injured.

According to media outlets, the five assailants failed to reach their targets (the Majlis floor and the shrine) and were killed outside.

The Majlis assault involving three gunmen lasted about five hours and left dozens of casualties, while the mausoleum attack took minutes and left several people dead and injured.


Alavi said the planner of the deadly attacks was stationed in the border areas and left the country after the terror attacks were carried out.

"With the help of friendly [intelligence] services, he received retribution for his villainy" he said.

Alavi said his ministry observed a flurry of terrorist activity in recent months, as opposed to the time when it was detecting two to four terrorist cells per month.

"In [the Iranian month of] Ordibehesht [started April 21] we have uncovered such teams on a daily basis. The pressure was so high that we felt their failures in carrying out terror attacks  had pushed them to total madness."

Tehran police announced on Saturday a car used by terrorists to reach the attack sites was found in downtown Tehran.

"Terrorists took the car to go to the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini [south of the metropolis]. After two of them disembarked, the others went to the center of Tehran and got out of the car to carry out the Majlis operation," the police said in a statement.

The Intelligence Ministry on Thursday identified the five perpetrators as Iranian nationals who had fought for IS in Syria and Iraq.

The first Islamic State terror operation hitting Iran, its chief adversary, set off a chain of arrests across the country.

Beside six people who were arrested around the mausoleum on suspicion of collaborating with the killers on Wednesday, security forces apprehended 41 IS members in four provinces of Kermanshah, Kordestan, West Azarbaijan and Tehran, eight terrorists in Alborz Province and seven in Fars Province, among others.

The parliament hosted a funeral ceremony for the victims in Tehran on Friday attended by the top brass.


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