CAIRO (AP) – Iranian security forces killed two men and arrested two others allegedly behind a deadly shooting last month in a southwestern city, state-run media reported, amid conflicting accounts of the incident that coincided with a wave of anti-government protests.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the two suspects killed were behind last month’s shooting that left dead seven people at a bazaar in the small, working-class city of Izeh in Khuzestan province. The country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard and Intelligence Ministry also arrested two other suspects in the same operation.
The Guard did not release any details about when the raid took place or how the suspects were killed. Authorities offered no evidence to support the four suspects’ alleged involvement. The government has labelled the attack an “act of terror”, but families and rights groups have cast doubt on that claim, accusing security forces of opening fire on civilians as protests convulsed the city.
The shooting in Izeh on November 16 killed three children, including a 10-year-old boy and a woman, authorities reported at the time. A funeral for the boy, Kian Pirfalak, later prompted an outpouring of outrage as his mother delivered an emotional speech blaming plainclothes security forces for attacking their car as she begged them not to shoot, according to videos of the funeral service posted on social media.
IRNA news agency denied any security forces played a role in Pirfalak’s killing, instead claiming “terrorist agents with unknown incentives” unleashed automatic weapons fire on their car as demonstrations raged in the city.