DUBAI • Iran has arrested almost 50 people in connection with twin attacks on Teheran that killed 17 people last week, officials said, as security forces stepped up efforts to crack down on suspected militants.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings and gun attacks on Parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, last Wednesday.
Iran's intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Saturday night that 43 suspects had been arrested and operations to identify and crush more "terrorist cells" were under way. Yesterday, the head of the justice department in Kordestan province in western Iran announced six more arrests.
"Six people who were certainly connected to Wednesday's terrorist attacks in Teheran were identified and arrested," Mr Aliakbar Garousi was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency. Iran also said its security forces killed the mastermind of the attacks on Saturday.
"The commander of this terrorist group was based in the border regions, but after the attacks he left the country," Mr Alavi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB yesterday.
"However, with cooperation of (intelligence) services that are close to Iran, he paid the price for his crimes on Saturday and was killed by Iran's security forces and our friends in the other intelligence services," the minister said.
Iran's intelligence ministry said on Thursday that five of the gunmen and bombers were Iranian members of ISIS who had fought in the militants' strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The attacks were the first claimed by ISIS inside tightly controlled Shi'ite Iran, one of the powers leading the fight against Sunni militants in the region.
Iranian lawmakers invited the intelligence minister, interior minister and also the deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards to Parliament yesterday to report on the biggest security breach in the country in more than two decades.