TEHRAN, Iran — Attackers mounted simultaneous gun and suicide bomb assaults on Iran’s parliament building and the tomb of the republic’s revolutionary founder on Wednesday in one of the most audacious assaults to hit Tehran in decades.
At least 12 people were killed and dozens more injured in the twin assaults on the Iranian capital, state media reported. A third attack was foiled, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said.
ISIS issued a swift claim of responsibility. Its media wing, Amaq, claimed “fighters with the Islamic State” carried out the attack, but did not offer evidence.
By choosing the burial site of Iran’s revered revolutionary leader and the national legislative forum, the attackers picked highly symbolic targets.
Until now, Iran has largely escaped the regular assaults launched against other participants in neighboring Syria’s civil war. In a region plagued by sectarian violence, residents of the Iranian capital have lived in a peaceful oasis.
The violence unfolded at about 10 a.m. local time when gunmen apparently dressed as women stormed the main gate of the parliament building in central Tehran and opened fire, Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari told state television.
The attackers took a number of hostages and at least one detonated a suicide bomb. Sporadic gunfire was heard before Iranian authorities declared the situation under control about four hours later.
All four attackers were killed by security forces, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
At the same time as the parliament attack was launched, a shooting spree and suicide bombing targeted the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum about 15 miles away, on the southern outskirts of the Iranian capital. Fars reported that one person was arrested at the tomb.
Iran’s counter-terrorism unit said several “terrorist groups” had been able to enter Tehran, though it did not say where they were from. Members of another group had been apprehended.
He said that one of the attackers at the shrine had been “neutralized,” in addition to the suicide bomber, and that the attackers at parliament have been surrounded.
The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, attempted to play down the attack, describing it as a “minor issue.”
“As you know, some coward terrorists infiltrated a building … but they were seriously confronted,” he said in a statement. “This is a minor issue but reveals that the terrorists pursue trouble-making.”