At least 15 people were killed in a Wednesday evening attack on a shrine in Iran’s southern city of Shiraz, which state media described as a “terrorist act,” while nationwide unrest continues to grip the country.
Two of the three assailants, including the main culprit, have been arrested, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, adding that the gunmen drove toward Shah Cheragh mosque and opened fire on people inside.
It’s unclear whether the attack is linked to anti-government protests that started almost six weeks ago and were triggered by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being arrested for allegedly flouting Islamic dress codes.
At least 21 people were wounded in the incident, Iranian state TV said, citing Mojtaba Khaledi, spokesman for Iran’s National Emergency Organization.
Citing an unnamed source, the semi-official Tasnim news agency said the attack was carried out by a “Wahhabi” group seeking to take advantage of the current unrest, referring to the strict Sunni sect of Islam that’s mostly practiced in Saudi Arabia.
The state-run Nour News, affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Iranian nationals were not behind the attack, without saying where it got the information.
The gunmen struck at the busiest hour of pilgrimage at Shah Cheragh, according to IRNA. The shrine is a well-known tourist attraction and Wednesday’s attack coincided with mourning ceremonies marking 40 days since Mahsa Amini’s death that have drawn thousands of protesters out onto the streets.