ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack on two targets in Iran this morning. The terrorist group says that their soldiers of Muhammad attacked both the Iranian parliament and the Shrine of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Official sources within the Iranian government say that two security guards have been killed and more than 30 people were wound thus far, with the siege at the legislature still underway.
The attacks mark the first time the terrorist group has launched attacks within Iran according to official sources. Iran has been giving support and assisting both Iraq and Syria in their fighting with the Muslim extremist group. In a message posted through its Aamaq News Agency, the ISIS claimed its fighters were behind the assaults.
The attacks were both launched mid-morning local time, when assailants armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed the parliament building. The attackers appeared to include at least one suicide bomber who later blew himself up inside the parliament building, where a session was in progress, according to a statement carried by Iran’s state TV. The Deputy Interior Minister, Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari, told Iran’s state TV the apparently male attackers wore women’s attire.
According to an Associated Press reporter police have deployed several snipers on the rooftops of buildings around the parliament. The government has ordered all shops in the area closed and they were left shuttered as the buildings were evacuated. Sources said gunfire could be heard in the area as police swept the streets. Witnesses also said the attackers were shooting from the fourth floor of the parliament building down at people in the streets below.
“I was passing by one of the streets. I thought that children were playing with fireworks, but I realized people are hiding and lying down on the streets,” Ebrahim Ghanimi, who was around the parliament building when the assailants stormed in, told AP. “With the help of a taxi driver, I reached a nearby alley.”
Police have sealed off the area and helicopters circled over the parliament building. In addition, all mobile phone and landlines from inside were disconnected. The semi-official ISNA news agency said all entrance and exit gates at parliament were closed and that lawmakers and reporters have been ordered to remain in place inside the chamber.
Shortly after the attack on parliament was launched, a suicide bomber and other assailants targeted the shrine located just outside the capital. Reports say that a security guard was killed and that one of the attackers was killed by security guards and that at least one woman was also arrested in connection with that attack.
An AP reporter said they saw security forces, both uniformed and plainclothes, around the large and ornate shrine. Iranian security officials have not said who they suspect is behind the attacks, though state media has referred to the attackers as “terrorists”.
The attacks prompted the Interior Ministry to call for an urgent security meeting, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. Security officials have ordered people to avoid using public transportation until further notice.