TEHRAN (AA) – The death toll from the bombings that ripped through southeastern Iran’s Kerman city on Wednesday has risen to 91, with two more people succumbing to their injuries in hospitals.
Seyyed Mohammad Saberi, the head of the Medical Emergency Organization in Kerman, said an eight-year-old child and a 60-year-old man have died in hospital.
Authorities had earlier put the death toll at 103, but forensic experts later revised it to 84, making it the country’s deadliest incident since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
A total of 284 people were also injured in the attacks that took place outside the cemetery, where thousands of people had gathered to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of top military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani, the former head of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport in January 2020.
Earlier, a mass funeral for those killed in Wednesday’s attacks was held in Kerman in the presence of senior officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi and IRGC chief Gen. Hossein Salami.
Speaking to the large gathering outside the Kerman cemetery, Raisi slammed Israel for harboring a “grudge” against Soleimani for “jeopardizing” its plans to “establish another Israel in the region.”
He also accused Israel of “creating and supporting” the ISIS group, echoing what many other senior Iranian officials have said in recent weeks.
Daesh/ISIS on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying “more than 300 people” were killed in two “suicide bombings” in the Iranian city, and identifying the two bombers as Omer al-Mohed and Safiullah Mujahid, who detonated their explosive-laden vests in the crowd.
Many of the injured are believed to be critical and under observation in intensive care units, according to health officials, with the death toll likely to rise further.
In its preliminary report released on Friday, Iran’s intelligence ministry confirmed that the explosions were suicide attacks, describing one of the attackers as a Tajik national. The identity of the other attacker remains unknown.
It said at least nine people have been arrested in six provinces in connection with the attacks so far and some explosives have also been recovered from their hideouts in Kerman.