Rare double attack hits Iran’s capital

Gunmen hit two highly symbolic sites in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, opening fire on the parliament and setting off a suicide bomb at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, according to local news reports.

Casualties are unclear but the parliament is in lockdown and there are reports of wounded and dead at both the parliament and the tomb of the Islamic Republic’s founder.

Attacks of this kind are a rarity in the heart of Iran’s highly secure capital. The parliament building is in the center of the city while the tomb is about 12 miles to the south.

Ali Khalili of the Khomeini Mausoleum told the IRNA state news agency that there were at least three, possibly four, attackers who opened fire on the tomb, and one of them detonated himself at the entrance.

Lawmaker Qolam-Ali Jafarzadeh Imenabadi, meanwhile, put the number of attackers at the parliament at four and said they were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles. He told IRNA that one guard was reportedly killed.

One of the attackers at the parliament was arrested, added the news agency, but it is not clear if the other three are still at large and there have been unconfirmed reports of a hostage situation.

The parliament’s spokesman Mahdi Kiaie, however, insisted that the situation at the parliament was now under control with units of the Revolutionary Guard securing the building.

Iran has suffered from terror attacks in the past, but rarely in the cities or the capital. Separatist groups and Sunni extremist movements have carried out bombings in the border region near Pakistan in the past, including a suicide attack on a mosque in 2010 that killed 39.

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Iran is a predominantly Shiite Muslim country and is at odds with Sunni extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, which it is battling, together with its proxies, in Iraq and Syria.