Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Iran mosque blast plotters admit Israeli, US links: report

Iran mosque blast plotters admit Israeli, US links: report

Iran's chief prosecutor said bombers who caused a deadly blast at a mosque in Shiraz had confessed of links to Israel and the United States, the ISNA student news agency reported on Friday.

"Those responsible for the attack against the Shiraz mosque have confessed to having links to worldwide oppression, in particular the United States and Israel," Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi was quoted by the agency as saying.

They also admitted carrying out "one or two minor operations," the agency said, without providing further details except to say the group launched military operations a year ago.

The April 12 blast in the southern city left 13 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Authorities subsequently announced the arrest of 15 people.

Earlier Friday, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami said people had also plotted attacks in the holy city of Qom, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Tehran, and at a book fair held in the capital.

Iran has already accused Britain and the United States of training and financing those behind the bombing. In the past it has also blamed US and British agents based in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan for launching attacks on border provinces with significant ethnic minority populations.

The strike in Shiraz was the first in decades in Iran's Persian heartland. The normally placid city is not in a border zone, nor is it home to any significant ethnic or religious minority population.

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