Islamic State video allegedly shows perpetrators of attack on Iranian military parade

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a video allegedly showing three of the men responsible for yesterday’s terrorist attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran. More than two dozen people, including members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and civilians, were reportedly killed.

Amaq’s one-minute, 40-second production shows three jihadists driving in a car, presumably sometime just before the shootings.

FDD’s Long War Journal cannot independently verify that the men seen in the footage were in fact responsible for the assault. The video is similar to clips previously released by Amaq after Islamic State operations.

There have been conflicting reports and claims regarding the group that was responsible. A nationalist organization based in Ahvaz has also reportedly claimed responsibility. Iranian authorities have portrayed the killings as the work of regional actors, including Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States.

The three men pictured in Amaq’s video are dressed in military garb. Iranian officials have said that the gunmen were dressed like members of the IRGC and the Basij volunteer force. Pictures circulated online purportedly show some of the shooters after they were killed by security personnel. The photos have also been shared on pro-Islamic State social media channels. It is not clear if the deceased men seen in the images are the same as those shown in Amaq’s video. Some claim there is a match, while others dismiss any similarity. Others say some of the images show the victims.

In the past, Amaq has released videos in order to underscore some of the Islamic State’s claims of responsibility for attacks in the West and elsewhere. The most recent footage was disseminated online in August, after a team of young adolescents and children assaulted police in Chechnya. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Islamic State video purportedly shows youths responsible for attacks in Chechnya.]

In the previous videos, the so-called caliphate’s terrorists swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, often in front of an Islamic State flag. In the latest footage, the three men do not pledge their fealty to Baghdadi, but instead offer goodbyes to their loved ones, or use other generic pro-jihadist language.

During the Islamic State’s first major attack in Iran, in June 2017, Amaq released footage from the scene. That video provided graphic, firsthand evidence that Baghdadi’s loyalists were culpable. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Analysis: The Islamic State‚Äôs first major terrorist attacks inside Iran.]

Baghdadi’s organization has repeatedly claimed responsibility for the massacre in Ahvaz. Amaq released two short statements within hours of the terrorist attack. In the first message, Amaq claimed that the group’s inghimasis, or well-trained guerrilla fighters, struck the parade while Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was in attendance. Amaq quickly issued a correction, saying that Rouhani was not in attendance.

The Islamic State then published a longer claim of responsibility, saying that the group’s Wilayah Khorasan (or Khorasan “province,” which operates primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also includes Iran) conducted the attack. Amaq also released another message, trumpeting the casualties suffered by the Iranians. Amaq’s last written statement included an image of other fighters — not the men allegedly responsible for the Ahvaz operation.

Then, earlier today, Amaq released its short video.

Images from the Islamic State’s video allegedly showing three of the assailants responsible for the attack in Ahvaz, Iran:

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Sid Finster says:

    So why does this publication and others keep pushing the “Iran is on the side of ISIS ZOMG!” line?

  • Verneoz says:

    Never seen the LWJ say ISIS & Iran are love birds. The other news media, perhaps. They are lazy, and do not do professional investigative reporting.

  • Steve says:

    Clearly visible on the hat of the third chap is an IRGC badge. If these AREN’T the attackers who the heck are they? Why would IS have a video of guys in IRGC garb saying goodbye to their families? Or why would another group give footage of their attackers to IS? I don’t think we’re exactly through the looking glass here. It was IS.

  • Jim Lopey says:

    IS is the likely culprit but not sure about the internal terror group mentioned. Iran has been arch enemies of IS from the beginning. Also, IS despises Shi’ites and considers them apostates. IS obtained the photos of the three attackers (assuming they are attackers) and if so it would be hard to explain away this evidence. Iran also bombards its populace with propaganda. It blame the US, Israel or Saudi Arabia for all of its problems–primarily to deflect away its own problems at home, i.e. its economy and draconian form of theocratic government.

  • Jim says:

    Politicians say Iran backs “terrorism” but they mean Hezbollah, Iraqi militia, and to a lesser degree Hamas. This is misleading as Americans usually think “ISIS and al-Qaeda” when they hear “terrorism”, and Iran doesn’t support those groups.

    News media quotes them uncritically because news media is dumb. That said I haven’t seen LWJ make that mistake, aside from exploring Iran’s limited relationship with AQ in the past.


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