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Islamic State’s Afghanistan branch behind Iran bombings, US Intelligence claims

AT News

KABUL – US intelligence has confirmed that the Islamic State’s Afghanistan branch, ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), is responsible for the twin bombings in Iran, killing nearly 100 people, according to sources familiar with the matter. Communications intercepts, collected by the United States, provided clear-cut and indisputable evidence of ISIS-K’s involvement in the attacks, making it the deadliest incident in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The intelligence, consisting of intercepted communications, was undisclosed until now. The bombings in the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman occurred during a memorial service for Qassem Soleimani, a senior military commander assassinated in a 2020 US drone strike. ISIS claimed responsibility, but the specific role of its Afghanistan-based affiliate was not initially clarified.

US officials, relying on the intelligence, point to ISIS-K as the perpetrator, emphasizing the group’s continued focus on plotting foreign operations despite Taliban crackdowns. The Central Intelligence Agency has refrained from commenting on the matter.

These attacks add to regional tensions fueled by the Israel-Hamas conflict and the Tehran-aligned Houthi group’s assaults on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. ISIS, driven by a virulent hatred for Shi’ites, Iran’s dominant sect, has previously targeted the country, including a 2022 attack on a Shi’ite shrine and the 2017 bombings at the parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran has responded by arresting 11 suspects linked to the bombings and seizing explosive devices and vests. The situation underscores the ongoing threat posed by ISIS-K and its determination to carry out attacks, even as it faces internal challenges.

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