One hundred and three people were killed in southern Iran by a double explosion on Wednesday January 3, near the tomb of General Ghassem Soleimani, whose death the country is celebrating the fourth anniversary of, state television reported. A previous report reported 73 deaths.

The attack was quickly labeled a “terrorist” act by Rahman Jalali, deputy governor of Kerman province in southern Iran. It was not immediately claimed.

According to the latest information given by state television, 141 people were also injured by the explosions – some are in critical condition – which took place near the Saheb Al-Zaman mosque, where the tomb of Soleimani, in Kerman, southern Iran.

Bombs “activated via remote control”

According to the local Tasnim agency, which cites well-informed sources, the explosions were caused by “bombs hidden in two bags”. “The perpetrators apparently activated the bombs via a remote control,” according to the same source.

The ISNA agency, which quotes the mayor of Kerman, Said Tabrizi, explains that the explosions occurred ten minutes apart. Videos posted on social media showed participants desperately trying to leave the site as security personnel cordoned off the area. In other videos, people can be seen running, panicked and disoriented. Shortly after the explosions, rescuers were on site. Numerous ambulances were also on the scene.

Ghassem Soleimani was killed in January 2020, at the age of 62, during an American drone attack in Iraq. A key man in the Iranian regime, he was also one of the country’s most popular public figures.

After serving in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Soleimani quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming head of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, responsible for the Islamic Republic’s external operations. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared three days of national mourning at the time of his death.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, is to speak on the occasion of the commemoration of the assassination of General Soleimani, during a speech scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon, the day after the assassination of a powerful Hamas leader in Beirut, Saleh Al-Arouri.