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The Latest: Arab separatist group claims Iran attack

September 22, 2018

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on attack on Iranian military parade(all times local):

6:50 p.m.

A spokesman for an Arab separatist group in Iran says members of his organization carried out an attack on an Iranian military parade that killed 25 people and wounded 53.

Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, told The Associated Press his group wants that area of southwest Iran to be its own nation.

He described his group as leading an umbrella organization for other Ahvaz groups, which includes the militants who carried out Saturday’s attack in Ahvaz.

Al-Tostari said the attack undermined the Iranian government “on the day it wants to give a message to the world that it is powerful and in control.”

He dismissed a claim by the Islamic State group for the attack. The IS claim initially incorrectly said the attack targeted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani was in Tehran giving a speech.

Hours after the attack, Iranian officials have increasingly said they suspect Ahvazi separatists for the attack.

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Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb in Beirut reported this item.

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4 p.m.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the “terrorist” attack on a military parade in Iran’s southwest that killed 24 people and wounded dozens.

In a statement quoting a Foreign Ministry official, the Syrian government said Saturday it condemns in the “strongest terms” the attack on the military parade in Ahvaz. The statement said those sponsoring “terrorism in the region won’t be able to achieve their plots using these sordid crimes.”

Syria is a major ally of Iran, benefiting from generous military and financial aid from Tehran to fight the seven-year-old armed rebellion against the Syrian government.

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1:25 p.m.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency says 24 people are dead and 53 wounded in an attack on a military parade in the country’s oil-rich southwest.

The agency cited “knowledgeable sources” without elaborating. It said gunmen were dressed in Guard uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting.

The attack left at least eight members of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard dead and 20 others wounded, local media reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in Ahvaz, which saw gunfire spray into a crowd of marching Guardsmen, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser

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11:50 a.m.

Iran’s foreign minister is blaming regional countries and their “U.S. masters” for an attack on a military parade that killed at least eight people.

Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter also warned that “Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives” after the attack in Ahvaz.

Zarif said that children and journalists were casualties in the attack.

He added that the gunmen were “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime.”

He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there.

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10:30 a.m.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency says at least eight members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard have been killed in the Ahvaz military parade attack.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency says 20 people were wounded, including a woman and a child. The agency did not elaborate.

State TV earlier described the gunmen as “Takfiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, which has seen attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists.

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10:15 a.m.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency says 20 people have been wounded in an attack on military parade in Ahvaz.

The IRNA report said those wounded in the attack Saturday included a woman and a child. The agency did not elaborate.

State TV earlier described the gunmen as “Takfiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, which has seen attacks on oil pipelines by Arab separatists.

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9:45 a.m.

Iranian state television says gunmen have attacked a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, killing and wounding several people.

The report Saturday described the gunmen as “Takifiri gunmen,” a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group.

There was no immediate elaboration.

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