This photo shows the scene outside the Iranian parliament in the capital Tehran on June 7, 2017 during an attack on the complex. (Atta Kenare / AFP)
LONDON – Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked Iran's parliament and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing at least 12people in a twin assault at the heart of the Islamic Republic, Iranian officials and media said.
Iran's Intelligence Ministry said they have foiled another terrorist plot and have arrested "a terrorist team", state broadcaster IRIB reported
Islamic State claimed responsibility and released a video purporting to show gunmen inside the parliament building and one man, who appeared wounded, on the floor.
The rare attacks were the first claimed by the hardline Sunni Muslim militant group inside the Shi'ite Muslim country.
Iran is one of the powers leading the fight against Islamic State militants in neighboring Iraq and, beyond that, Syria.
Attackers dressed as women burst through parliament’s main entrance in central Tehran, deputy interior minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari said, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
"One of them was shot dead and another one detonated his suicide vest," he said.
About five hours after the first reports, Iranian news agencies said four people who had attacked parliament were dead and the incident was over.
At least 12 people were killed by the attackers, the head of Iran's emergency department, Pir-Hossein Koliv and, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.
"I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly," said one journalist at the scene, who asked not to be named.
Soon after the assault on parliament, another bomber detonated a suicide vest near the shrine of the Republic's revered founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, a few kilometers south of the city, Zolfaghari said, according to Tasnim.
An armed man stands in a window of the parliament building in Tehran, Iran, June 7, 2017. (Fars News Agency, Omid Vahabzadeh via AP)
A second attacker was shot dead, he said.
MINISTRY: THIRD ATTACK FOILED
The Intelligence Ministry said security forces had arrested another "terrorist team" planning a third attack, without giving further details.
The attacks took place less than a month after there-election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, whose landslide victory defeated candidates supported by the hardline clergy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is responsible for national security.
The body of a terrorist, at background left, lies on the ground while police control the scene at the shine of late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, June 7, 2017. (Ebrahim Noroozi / AP)
"The atmosphere is tense. It is a blow to Rouhani. How can four armed men enter the parliament, where a very tight security has always been in place," said a senior official, who asked not to be named.
The Intelligence Ministry called on people to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement. Despite unconfirmed reports of a hostage situation, state television said parliament had resumed, and broadcast footage of what it said was the opening session proceeding normally.
This June 4, 2007 file photo shows Iranians in Tehran attending ceremonies on the 18th anniversary of the death of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, outside his shrine. (Hasan Sarbakhshian / AP)
"Some coward terrorists infiltrated one of the buildings of parliament. They were confronted. It was not a major issue. Our security forces have taken necessary steps," parliament speaker Ali Larijani said in an open session broadcast live by state TV.
Islamic State has often urged its fighters to attack Iranian targets and lambasted "heretic" Shi'ite Iran for helping the Syrian and Iraqi governments battle Islamic State, which considers Shi'ites to be infidels.