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Iran executes two Afghans over fatal shrine attack

AT News

KABUL – Iran has publicly executed two Afghans for their involvement in a deadly attack on a shrine in the city of Shiraz. The attack, which took place last year, was claimed by ISIL.

The executed men, Mohammed Ramez Rashidi and Naeem Hashem Qatali, were hanged early on Saturday after their sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court, as reported by the official news outlet of the judiciary.

The targeted site was the Shah Cheragh Shrine, a significant place of worship located in Fars province. On October 26, 2022, the shrine was assaulted by a lone gunman armed with an automatic rifle. Security camera footage released at the time captured the assailant entering the shrine, opening fire on a group of pilgrims and staff, and proceeding to the main compound. Initially, authorities reported 15 fatalities, but the number was later revised to 13, with 40 people injured. The gunman, believed to be from Tajikistan, was killed by security forces.

ISIL’s Amaq News Agency released a video claiming responsibility for the attack, adding to their track record of coordinated assaults on Iranian targets, including the 2017 attacks on the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.

Several individuals were apprehended by Iranian authorities for allegedly providing support to the shrine shooter. The two men who were executed were found to have been in contact with ISIL operatives in Afghanistan. They were responsible for supplying the gunman with the rifle and assisting him in reaching the site of the shooting. Three other men involved in the attack were sentenced to prison terms.

Among those sentenced, Mohammad Rahmani, identified as a prominent ISIL operative in Tehran, received a 25-year sentence. Mostafa Jan Amani was given a 15-year sentence for supporting the armed group, while Hamidollah Kaboli received a five-year sentence, according to the judiciary.

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