dozens reported killed in iran in blasts near qassim suleimanis tomb

The explosions, according to Iranian state media, took place at a ceremony commemorating Qassim Suleimani, the top commander killed by a U.S. drone strike four years ago.

A pair of explosions in Iran on Wednesday in the cemetery where the Iranian spymaster Qassim Suleimani is buried killed dozens of people, state media reported, heightening tensions in the region even further a day after a drone strike killed several Hamas officials in a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon.

Tasnim News and IRNA, both semiofficial Iranian news agencies, quoted security officials saying that the incident was being investigated as a terrorist attack, but did not identify a suspect.

The explosions in Kerman, Iran, came four years after an American drone strike assassinated General Suleimani, the longtime commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ powerful Quds Force, at Baghdad airport.

State media accounts gave different death tolls, but IRNA had the highest, reporting that 53 people had died. Tasnim said 50 people had been taken to medical centers and that the area was evacuated after the two explosions, which occurred minutes apart in the crowded cemetery. IRNA and Fars News, another semiofficial news agency, said 71 had been injured.

General Suleimani had been hailed in Iran and in parts of the wider region as a hero for building a Tehran-led network of regional militias that countered the United States and Israel across the Middle East, and he continues to enjoy near-mythic status among pro-government Iranians.

That network included Hamas, the military and political group that controls Gaza, as well as Hezbollah, the armed political party that dominates much of Lebanon. Hezbollah has been clashing with Israeli forces on Lebanon’s southern border even as Hamas battles Israel in Gaza.

Hamas, Lebanese and American officials all blamed Israel for a strike on Tuesday in Lebanon, which killed a senior Hamas deputy and skilled tactician, Saleh al-Arouri. The identities of those who died in Iran on Wednesday were not yet known.

Suspicion for both strikes immediately fell on Israel, though Israeli officials sidestepped responsibility for Tuesday’s attack and had no immediate comment on Wednesday’s events in Iran.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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