Gunman Who Attacked Shrine in Iran Dies from Injuries

A general view of the Shah Cheragh Shrine after an attack in Shiraz, Iran October 28, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
A general view of the Shah Cheragh Shrine after an attack in Shiraz, Iran October 28, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
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Gunman Who Attacked Shrine in Iran Dies from Injuries

A general view of the Shah Cheragh Shrine after an attack in Shiraz, Iran October 28, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
A general view of the Shah Cheragh Shrine after an attack in Shiraz, Iran October 28, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

The gunman who killed 15 people at a major Shiite holy site in southern Iran earlier this week died on Saturday, Iranian media reported. The attack was claimed by the militant ISIS group but Iran's government has sought to blame it on the protests roiling the country.

Iranian authorities have not disclosed details about the assailant, who died in a hospital in the southern city of Shiraz on Saturday from injuries sustained during his arrest, according to Iran's semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

The funeral for the victims would be held later on Saturday, officials said. It is unusual that authorities have not elaborated on the gunman's nationality or provided any details about him following Wednesday's deadly attack at Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, the second-holiest Shiite shrine in Iran.

The attack came as unrest — sparked by the Sept. 16 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country's morality police — have rocked the country.

The protests first focused on the state-mandated hijab, or headscarf, for women but quickly grew into calls for the downfall of Iran's theocracy itself. At least 270 people have been killed and 14,000 have been arrested in the protests that have swept over 125 Iranian cities, according to the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.

Iranian officials have blamed protesters for paving the way for the assault on the shrine in Shiraz, but there is no evidence linking extremist groups to the widespread, largely peaceful demonstrations engulfing the country. Security forces have violently cracked down on demonstrations with live ammunition, anti-riot pellets and tear gas.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the shrine — its first such claim in Iran in four years. Iran’s religious sites have previously been targeted by ISIS and other extremists.

The Iranian government has repeatedly alleged that foreign powers have orchestrated the protests, without providing evidence. The protests have become one of the most serious threats to Iran's ruling clerics since the 1979 revolution.



Putin Warns West Not to Let Ukraine Use Its Missiles to Hit Russia

 Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Putin Warns West Not to Let Ukraine Use Its Missiles to Hit Russia

 Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that NATO members in Europe were playing with fire by proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike inside Russia, which he said could trigger a global conflict.

More than two years into the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two, as the West considers what to do about Russian military advances, Putin is increasingly evoking the risk of a global war, while Western leaders play it down.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons, a view supported by some European members of the transatlantic alliance but not the United States.

Russian forces have advanced into Ukraine's Kharkiv province safe in the knowledge that Ukraine cannot attack missile launchers being fired deep inside Russia because it cannot use the Western missiles that have the required range.

Meanwhile, Western-made air defenses cannot attempt to down Russian rockets until they cross the Ukrainian border, only 25 km (15 miles) or so from Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv.

"Constant escalation can lead to serious consequences," Putin told reporters in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

"If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the United States behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons?"

"It's hard to say - do they want a global conflict?"

Putin said Ukrainian strikes with long-range weapons would need Western satellite, intelligence and military help - so the West would have to be directly involved in such attacks.

He said sending French troops to Ukraine would also be a step towards global conflict and that smaller countries considering deeper involvement "should be aware of what they are playing with" as they had small land areas and dense populations.

"This is a factor that they should keep in mind before talking about striking deep into Russian territory. This is a serious thing, and we are of course watching it very closely," Putin said.

RUSSIAN ADVANCES TRIGGER DEBATE IN WEST

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 touched off the worst breakdown in relations with the West for 60 years.

The invasion has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, driven millions to flee abroad, and reduced neighborhoods and whole cities to rubble.

Putin casts the war as part of a struggle with the West, which he says is exploiting Ukraine as part of a wider plan to encroach on what he considers Moscow's sphere of influence.

The West and Ukraine cast the attack as a simple land grab: Russia controls 18% of Ukraine, and the crisis is now escalating into what diplomats say is its most dangerous phase.

Russian officials say Moscow's patience is wearing thin after Ukrainian attacks on Russian cities, oil refineries and elements of its nuclear early-warning system.

Putin said Kyiv and its Western backers had provoked Russia's offensive on the Kharkiv region by ignoring repeated warnings not to let Ukraine attack the adjacent Russian region of Belgorod.