Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
TEHRAN, Iran — Gunmen attacked an annual Iranian military parade Saturday in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 30 others, local officials said.
Many of the wounded were in critical condition, according to the deputy governor of the Khuzestan province in which the attack occurred.
At least eight of those killed were members of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, local media reported.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif vowed Iran would “respond swiftly and decisively” to the attack, which he said claimed the lives of children and journalists.
“Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable,” he said on Twitter.
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.
Zarif said 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 in the past. The separatists also accuse Iran’s Shiite theocracy of discriminating against its Sunni Arab citizens. Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding their activity.
State television aired footage of the aftermath of the assault on Ahvaz’s Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard. The images included paramedics trying to help one person in military fatigues as other armed security personnel shouted at each other. The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack’s aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.
A local news agency in Khuzestan province, of which Ahvaz is the capital, aired grainy mobile phone footage showing parade goers fleeing as soldiers lay flat on the ground. Gunfire rang out in the background.
Reports of how the attack unfolded remained unclear immediately afterward. The state TV reporter said the gunfire came from a park behind a riser. The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.
Who carried out the assault also remained in question. Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif told ISNA that an Arab separatist group carried out the attack, without elaborating.
Saturday’s attack comes after a coordinated June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded.
The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.
Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989.