Suicide bomb attack kills 4 in Iran’s southern port city of Chabahar, shots fired

Videos shared on Twitter said to be taken from the scene of the attack at Chabahar show smoke rising into the sky. (Screen grab)
Updated 07 December 2018
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Suicide bomb attack kills 4 in Iran’s southern port city of Chabahar, shots fired

  • The attackers tried to enter the Chabahar police headquarters
  • A car bomb was detonated as security guards thwarted the initial attack

DUBAI: Iranian state TV has reported a suicide bomb attack killing at least four people - including two police - and wounding several others on Thursday in the Iranian southern port city of Chabahar.

“This morning a bomb inside a car exploded near a police station in Chabahar and four people were injured,” an official told state television, referring to it as a “terror incident.”

“The suicide attacker set off the explosion after stopping at police headquarters in Chabahar.”

The report went on to say that shooting could also be heard in the city on Thursday. Details were sketchy as the situation was still developing.

Chabahar governor Rahmdel Bameri said many people were also wounded in the morning car bombing.
“The explosion was very strong and broke the glass of many buildings close by," Bameri told state television.
Many nearby shop owners and civilian passers-by, including women and children, were severely wounded, he added.

Images posted on Twitter that appear to show the scene after the blast, show debris, damaged vehicles, and what appears to be the mangled remains of the vehicle that carried the explosive device.

Mohammad Hadi Marashi, deputy governor for security affairs, told state TV multiple assailants took part in Thursday's attack, that left several dead, including two police officers.

"The terrorists tried to enter Chabahar police headquarters but they were prevented by the guards and they detonated the car bomb," Marashi added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
TV also reported shooting in the area, which is located in the mainly Sunni province of Sistan-Baluchestan that has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants.
Videos shared on Twitter said to be taken from the scene show smoke rising into the sky with the sound of sirens heard in the background.  

 

State authorities did not identify who was behind the attack. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chabahar, near Iran's border with Pakistan on the Sea of Oman, is home to a new port recently built and is an economic free zone for the country.

[Developing]


Muslims pray in banned area of Al-Aqsa for first time since 2003

The worshippers forced their way into the area ahead of Friday prayer. (Reuters)
Updated 23 February 2019
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Muslims pray in banned area of Al-Aqsa for first time since 2003

  • The worshippers chanted religious and national slogans and mounted the flag of Palestine to show their delight at the reopening of the area

AMMAN: For the first time since 2003, Muslim worshippers broke an Israeli ban and offered Friday prayers in the Bab Al-Rahmeh prayer hall, which is part of the Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Hundreds of Palestinian worshippers entered the Bab Al-Rahmeh area inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday for the first time since the area was closed to Muslim worship by Israeli authorities.

The worshippers, led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein and other religious leaders, forced their way into the area ahead of the weekly Friday prayer, defying the Israeli ban.

The worshippers chanted religious and national slogans and mounted the flag of Palestine to show their delight at the reopening of the area, which has only been open during the past 16 years to Jewish fanatics during provocative visits to the Muslim holy place, the third holiest site in Islam, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the former mufti and now a member of the newly constituted Islamic Waqf Council in Jerusalem, delivered a short sermon in which he reiterated that “the Haram Al-Sharif is all 144 dunums of land, including the mosques, prayer halls, courtyard musuems and schools within it.” Sabri said that Muslims will not allow anyone to diminish Muslim rights in the entire mosque area.

The Friday prayer at Bab Al-Rahmeh went off peacefully in part because of an Israeli decision late on Thursday not to make any further escalations, a reliable source in Jerusalem told Arab News.

Khaleel Assali, a member of the new council who participated in the prayer at Bab Al-Rahmeh, told Arab News that the mood was peaceful and upbeat. “It was a beautiful thing to be able to reclaim part of our religious site that we were barred from using for so many years.”

The deputy head of the PLO’s Fatah movement, Mahmoud Alloul, praised the unprecedented action by the popular movement in Jerusalem. 

In a statement published on the Wafa website, Alloul called on Palestinians to stay steadfast in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa and Bab Al-Rahmeh and to “continue to stand up to the occupiers and their repeated incursions in Al-Aqsa courtyards.”

Mohammad Ishtieh, a senior Fatah leader who is expected to be the next Palestinian prime minister, issued a statement saying that what happened in Jerusalem today proves beyond a shadow of doubt that all actions and decisions aimed at Judaization of Jerusalem have failed as a result of the steadfastness of our people in our eternal capital. Ishtieh praised the defenders of Jerusalem who screamed for justice and who again forced the Israeli occupiers to back down.

Mahdi Abdul Hadi, director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) and a new member of the Jordanian-appointed Waqf Council, told Arab News that all parties participated and share this success. “Everyone participated and every party should get credit for this success. Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa unite us.”

The popular protests that led to the breakup of the 16-year-old Israeli ban began on Feb. 13 when the newly constituted empowered and expanded 18-member Waqf Council decided to hold a symbolic prayer at the barred Bab Al-Rahmeh site. The Israelis responded by placing heavy chains at the gate and making arrests. 

After four days of arrests, Israel allowed the removal of the chains but would not go as far as allowing Muslim worshippers to enter. On Wednesday the Waqf Council called on worshippers to pray at the Bab Al-Rahmeh site. All five daily prayers were held outside the barred prayer hall. A confrontation was expected Friday, but the insistence of the worshippers on reclaiming their site led to the Israelis backing down, Jerusalem sources told Arab News.