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MidEast Conflict Escalates with 2 Explosions in Iran Killing 100

At least 100 people have been killed in two explosions in Iran on Wednesday during a ceremony to mark the 2020 assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. 

Various Iranian media have reported the death toll as ranging from 73 to over 100, with scores of others injured by two explosive devices planted along the road to Iran’s Keman’s Martyrs’ Cemetery.  

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack–the deadliest in Iran since the late 70s. 

The attack comes as tensions escalate in the Middle East in the wake of Yemeni Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping and the assassination late on Tuesday of a senior Hamas official in Beirut, Lebanon. 

According to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency, the explosive devices were “detonated remotely by terrorists”. 

The death toll could continue to rise as new reports come in for this developing situation. 

Soleimani–the key figure in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for operations outside of Iran–was assassinated under the Trump Administration in a drone attack at Baghdad airport, sparking a retaliation at the time that saw Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops targeted in attacks. 

The attack follows the assassination of Hamas deputy head Saleh Al-Arouri–a founder of Hamas’ military wing–in an explosion in Beirut on Tuesday. Five other people were also killed in the attack. 

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Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miktai condemned the assassination, calling it a “new Israel crime” and accusing Israel of attempting to drag Lebanon fully into the war. The explosions in Iran also follow more escalation of tensions in the Red Sea, where the Houthis remain undeterred by a U.S.-led international task force to protect merchant vessels. On Tuesday, shipping giant Maersk once again said it would reroute ships after having attempted to brave the passage to the Suez Canal this week. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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