Iran says manhunt for Kerman terror attack elements expanded abroad, 35 nabbed

Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced that 35 individuals have been captured across the country in connection with the terrorist attack in the southern city of Kerman. It also added the manhunt has expanded to foreign countries for the remaining elements.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Intelligence Ministry said the process of identifying and capturing all people involved in masterminding, ordering and carrying out the fatal terrorist attack in Kerman is going on accurately and instantly at home and abroad.

So far, 35 individuals have been arrested in the provinces of Kerman, Sistan and Balouchestan, Khorasan Razavi, Isfahan, Tehran and West Azarbaijan in connection with the attack, the ministry said, adding that a number of culprits have been identified outside Iran and a serious manhunt has been launched for them.

According to the statement, the mastermind and main backer of the criminal attack was a Tajik national, alias “Abdullah Tajiki”, who had illegally entered Iran on December 19 from the southeastern border together with a woman and a child in order to “provide cover” for the attack.

Apart from supervising the terrorist operation, he had expertise in making improvised explosive devices, the statement noted, adding Tajiki had left Iran two days before the tragic attack in Kerman after assembling IEDs.

The Intelligence Ministry added that one of the suicide bombers who detonated himself in the terrorist attack was “Bazirov (Bozerov) Israeli”, a 24-year-old Tajik national.

The suicide attacker had joined the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorist group after acquaintance with the group via the Telegram messaging platform. He had traveled to Van in Turkey in recent months, crossed into Iran with the help of human traffickers at the western and eastern border areas and traveled to Badakhshan in Afghanistan, where he received training at a Daesh camp.

Bazirov Israeli was deployed to Iran after a couple of months of training in Badakhshan, arrived in Saravan after passing through the Jaleq-Kallegan border crossing, and traveled past Khash, Iranshahr and Jiroft before reaching Kerman to join Abdullah Tajiki, it added.

The ministry noted that the terrorists had plans to detonate the mausoleum of late Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, but changed their mind after observing the strict and multi-layered security and decided to carry out the evil terrorist attack at places far from the graveyard.

Last week’s twin blasts at the event held in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of General Soleimani’s martyrdom resulted in the tragic loss of at least 93 lives and left nearly 300 individuals injured, with some in critical condition.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has warned that those behind the terrorist act will receive a severe response.

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