West News Wire: The terrorist attack on a well-known Shia shrine in the Fars area of Iran on Wednesday resulted in more than a dozen fatalities and several injuries.
15 people have died, according to Esmail Mohebbi-Pour, the deputy director of political, security, and social affairs at the office of the governor of the province of Fars.
While more information is required, state media reports that the attack on the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz, a large funerary monument and pilgrimage site that dates back to the 12th century and is dedicated to Ahmad bin Musa Kazim, injured at least 40 other people.
Providing details about the attack, which took place at around 5:45 p.m. local time (1415 GMT), the police commander of Fars province said the lone attacker opened indiscriminate fire at pilgrims inside the shrine and was himself wounded and arrested by security officials.
Nour News Agency, which is affiliated with Iran’s top security body, said the militant who carried out the attack was a foreign national.
Earlier, there were reports that three terrorists had attacked visitors at the popular shrine that is thronged by both local and foreign pilgrims.
Iran’s official news agency IRNA said two children and a woman were among those killed in the terrorist attack. Their identity has not been disclosed yet.
Meanwhile, one of the eyewitnesses of the attack told reporters that loud screams were heard in the women’s section of the shrine at the time of adhan (the call for prayer) and suddenly an armed man was spotted with a Kalashnikov firing indiscriminately in the compound of the shrine.
After the initial burst of fire, the attacker went near the shrine and fired many rounds at those present at the scene, the eyewitness said.
The governor of the province of Fars was cited as saying that the terrorist initially wanted to assault the congregational evening prayers but was stopped by one of the servants who was watching the shrine’s servant and guard.
He added that the shrine will be open for communal prayers in the morning while it was being cleaned by the workers.
When a huge explosion occurred in Shiraz in 2008, it resulted in at least 14 fatalities and more than 200 injuries at a religious gathering.