A deadly terrorist attack Saturday on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, ratcheted up tensions between the country and its Arab neighbors, leading for calls of retribution even as confusion grew over responsibility for the violence.
The attack by four gunmen left 29 people dead and over 60 injured. Among those killed were soldiers, bystanders and children.
Thousands attended a funeral Monday for members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard killed in the assault, leading to chants of “death to Israel,” and “death to America.” Both countries have frequently been accused by the Iranian government of supporting separatists who have carried out violent attacks in the past.
General Hossein Salami of the Revolutionary Guard vowed revenge against the “triangle” of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“We warn all of those behind the story,” said Salami, “we will take revenge.''
Even as accusations of responsibility flew, confusion mounted. First an Arab Iranian separatist group, Ahvaz National Resistance, claimed responsibility. Then the Islamic State released a video over social media Monday purporting to show the assailants and photos of their corpses.
Some Iranians on social media said the images of the corpses do not match the men in the video. The men in the video also did not mention the Islamic State by name or make a pledge of loyalty, which usual in an IS attack.
The Iranian government said it had already rounded up a number of individuals tied to the attack, while the four gunmen were dead.
The widespread perception in Tehran that the United States has built support for militant separatist organizations along the Iranian border has led to the Iranian government being pressured to increase its support for similar groups in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Some commentators said the attack on Saturday could lead to the Iranian government strengthening the Taliban.