London- Iran’s intelligence ministry said Thursday that five of its nationals, who were ISIS members and had fought in Iraq and Syria, carried out the attack on the Iranian parliament and Ruhollah Khomeini’s shrine a day earlier.
The ministry released the photographs and first names of the five attackers without mentioning their family names or specifying the regions they hail from.
“The five known terrorists… after joining ISIS terrorist group, left the country and participated in crimes carried out by this terrorist group in Mosul and Raqqa,” it said in a statement.
It suggested there were only five attackers rather than the six originally reported.
Wednesday’s attacks on Tehran’s parliament complex and the shrine of Khomeini were the first claimed by ISIS in Iran.
The ministry said the attackers were part of a network that entered Iran in July-August 2016 under the leadership of “high-ranking ISIS commander” Abu Aisha intending to carry out operations in religious cities.
Abu Aisha was killed and the network forced to flee the country, the statement said. It was unclear when the five men returned to Iran ahead of Wednesday’s attacks.
Medical sources said Thursday that the death toll in the two attacks rose to 17, adding 50 people had been injured.
Tehran is expected to hold a funeral for the victims in the presence of high-ranking officials.
Iranian media, meanwhile, expressed shock at the attacks at a time when Tehran claims that it is interfering in Syria an Iraq militarily to fight ISIS and terrorism, and prevent bloodshed and war from reaching Iran.
Also Thursday, Hesam al-Din Ashna, cultural adviser to President Hasan Rouhani, warned against executing people convicted of belonging to extremist organizations in response to the latest attacks.
“ISIS is awaiting for vengeful reactions so that it lures more fighters and reproduces terrorism,” he said on Twitter.