Shia Mosque in Zahedan, Leaving 20 Dead, 80 Injured
ILNA Photo. 28 May 2009
An explosion at Ali Ibn Abitaleb Mosque in the southeast Iranian city of Zahedan killed at least 20 people and wounded 80. Some of the wounded are in critical condition. The explosion occurred at 1945 local time (1500 GMT) on Thursday evening during the evening prayer. Large parts of the Shia mosque were also destroyed [ILNA].
At 2300 local time, the governor of Sistan and Baluchistan (Zahedan is its provincial capital) told reporters that the police has arrested the people involved in the bombing. He did not identify the attackers, either by name or affiliation.
The majority in the restive Sistan and Baluchistan province belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. Destruction of a prominent Shia mosque in the region’s major city will add to the growing tensions there.
UPDATE 1: Iran accused US of orchestrating the attack. The US government denied the accusation.
UPDATE 2: On Friday 29 May, gunmen attacked President Ahmadinejad's reelection campaign offices in Zahedan, wounding three people. Gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at the offices at around 1900 local time (1430 GMT).
UPDATE 3: Three men were hanged in public in Zahedan on Saturday morning 30 May after being convicted for their involvement in the bombing. The arrests, trials, conviction and execution took place within two working days, raising serious questions about the accuracy and the fairness of the trials.