At least 25 people were killed and another 60 wounded in Iran on Saturday, when attackers opened fire on an annual military parade. Iranian leaders blamed the U.S. and Israel and threatened retaliation.
According to Reuters, four militants dressed as soldiers fired into the crowd during the parade in the city of Ahvaz. The event is held each year to mark the beginning of the Islamic Republic's war with Iraq, which lasted from 1980-88. Commemorations were held across the country during what is known as "Sacred Defense Week."
Of the 25 killed, a dozen were members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the country's elite security and military organization. The death toll is expected rise, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency, which reported that some of the wounded victims were listed in critical condition. Women and children were also among the dead and wounded, including a 4-year-old little boy who did not survive.
The Iranian Students' New Agency reported that authorities killed three attackers on site and another died of his injuries at a hospital. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps spokesman told the outlet, "The attack by some elements of al-Ahvaziya group which is fed by Saudi Arabia, aimed to overshadow the magnificence of the parade by the Iranian armed forces."
He added, "People had also been invited to the ceremony and the terrorists targeted both the people and the armed forces in the deadly attack."
What did Iranian leaders say?
Speaking before a funeral for one of the victims on Monday, the Revolutionary Guards' deputy head Hossein Salami warned the U.S. and Israel in a speech broadcast on state television.
"You have seen our revenge before...You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done," he said, according to Reuters.
Members of the crowd reportedly chanted "death to Israel and America."
The New York Times reported that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said of the attack: "The crime is a continuation of the conspiracy of U.S.-backed states in the region, which has set itself the goal of creating insecurity in our beloved country."
According to the Associated Press, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani added, "It is America who supports these little mercenary countries in the region. It is Americans who provide them with their required necessities to perpetrate such crimes."
In response to the attack, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Fox News, "The United States condemns all acts of terrorism and the loss of any innocent lives. We stand with the Iranian people against the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism and express our sympathy to them at this terrible time."
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," "I think what Rouhani needs to do is he needs to look at his own home base. The Iranian people are protesting. Every ounce of money that goes into Iran goes into his military. He's oppressed his people for a long time."
She added, "He can blame us all he wants. The thing he's got to do is look in the mirror."