TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – The Latest on attacks in Iran’s parliament building and the mausoleum of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (all times local):
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has confirmed that five of the men involved in terror attacks in Iran had fought for the Islamic State group.
A ministry statement issued Thursday said the men had left Iran to fight for the extremist group in Mosul, Iraq, as well as Raqqa, Syria – the group’s de facto capital.
It identified the men only by their first names, saying they didn’t want to release their last names due to security and privacy concerns for their families.
The ministry also published pictures of their corpses.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has condemned the twin extremist attacks in Tehran, vowing the Iran and Syria would emerge victorious in their fight against “terrorism.”
Iran is a key backer of Assad amid his country’s six year long civil war. The Syrian president spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani by phone on Thursday.
Rouhani affirmed his support for Assad’s government and promised to carry out the fight against “terrorists and their supporters,” according to a report on Syrian state media.
Iran blamed the Wednesday attacks on Saudi Arabia, casting them in the context of a broader regional conflict that encompasses the war inside Syria. Both Iran and the Syrian government portray the Syrian war as a conflict against Western- and Gulf-sponsored terrorism.
The Islamic State group claimed the Tehran attacks; no link has emerged of Saudi Arabia’s involvement.
The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has condemned the twin extremist attacks in Tehran, describing them as part of an “international, destructive plan” backed by various regional governments.
Hezbollah is seen as a proxy to Iran in Syria and Lebanon and has aligned itself with Tehran amid mounting regional tensions with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Iran blamed the Wednesday attacks on Saudi Arabia, though no link has been established. The Islamic State group claimed the attacks.
Hezbollan and Iran are locked in twin military conflicts in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State jihadists and Gulf- and Western-backed local opposition forces.
Authorities have raised the death toll in a pair of Islamic State-claimed attacks on Iran’s parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader to 16 people killed.
State television reported the increase Thursday, citing Ahmad Shojaei, the head of the country’s forensic center.
Shojaei told state TV that “three of the victims are women.” He did not elaborate.
Iranian authorities have said assailants were Iranian nationals, adding they have arrested six suspects, including one woman, since the attack Wednesday in Tehran.
Iran’s foreign minister is rejecting U.S. statements about the attacks on Iran’s parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader.
Mohammad Javad Zarif in a tweet on Thursday called the comments on the attack in Tehran a day earlier “repugnant” and accused the U.S. of supporting terror. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, which authorities on Thursday said killed 13.
President Donald Trump in a statement suggested that Iran bears some culpability for attacks in its capital.
Trump tweeted that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” He also said the U.S. was grieving and praying for the victims of the attacks.
Zarif tweeted: “The Iranian people reject such U.S. claims.”