Iran
Iran

The Friday Prayer Imam of the city of Kazeroun, in Fars province, southern Iran, has been stabbed to death, the town's police announced on Wednesday, May 29.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-run news agency, Fars, cited the provincial deputy police commander for social affairs, IRGC Colonel Kavous Mohammadi, as saying "Hojat ol Eslam [a mid-ranking cleric title] Mohammad Khorsand was stabbed an hour ago in front of his residence. He was taken to the city's hospital but died of deep injuries."

The cleric was returning from a religious ceremony at 3:30 Wednesday morning when he was attacked, Colonel Mohammadi said "the assailant has been identified, and security forces are searching for him."

Later in the day local media reported that the killer, a 47-year old man, was arrested in "his hiding place."

There is no news yet on the motive behind the deadly attack.

Kazeroun was the scene of large-scale protests and clashes between citizens and security forces on May 16-17, 2018.

A controversial proposal to divide the ancient city's boundaries into two separate entities enraged Kazeroun residents who poured into the streets and invaded the Friday Prayers location.

Fars news agency reported at the time that the demonstration was organized on the social networking platform Telegram.

Etemad Online also wrote at the time that a local MP, who tabled the motion for new demarcation of Kazeroun, wanted to promote his hometown Qaemieh, to a "city."

However, the Friday Prayer Imam of the city, who is appointed by the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, was vehemently against the division.

At least one person died during the protests, and dozens detained. The unrest culminated in a massive rally in front of the Intelligence Ministry's local office May 16, 2018.