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32 die in suicide bombings outside Shiite mosque in Iran

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Mosque blast kills dozens
  • Shiite Muslims are observing a period of mourning commemorating Imam Hussein
  • As many as 60 people are rushed to hospitals
  • Officials say the toll could rise
  • Iran
  • Islam
  • Terrorism

(CNN) -- Suicide bombings outside the Imam Hussein Mosque in Chabahar in southeastern Iran killed at least 32 people Wednesday, Iran's Fars News Agency reported, citing a provincial coroner's office.

Fariborz Ayati, the director of the Sistan-Baluchestan province's coroner's office, said 29 bodies have been identified. The three others are two men and a 13-year old girl, he said.

The violence comes as Shiite Muslims across the world are observing Ashura, a period of mourning commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed's grandson and one of Shiite Islam's holiest figures.

Iranian media reports said dozens of others were injured, and the Red Crescent relief agency told the semi-official ISNA news agency that the toll could rise.

Mohammad Yaghoub Jedgal, a deputy with the Chabahar parliament, told the IRNA news agency that about 50 to 60 victims had been rushed to medical centers for treatment.

The governor of Chabahar said a suspect has been taken into custody.

"The main perpetrator of the terrorist attack, which has killed and wounded a number of Iranians, has been arrested," Gov. Ali Bateni told IRNA.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said the region -- which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan -- has been the site of fighting between a Sunni armed group called Jundullah and government security forces.

The human rights group said the Iranian government asserts that Jundullah is funded by western intelligence, but the U.S. State Department added the group to its list of terror organizations.

"We hope this grotesque act will not lead to reprisals harming other innocent civilians," said Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesman for the human rights group.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement condemning the attack.

"The murder of innocent civilians in their place of worship during Ashura is a despicable offense, and those who carried it out must be held accountable. This is a disgraceful and cowardly act," he said.

"This and other similar acts of terrorism recognize no religious, political, or national boundaries. The United States condemns all acts of terrorism wherever they occur."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the action and is "shocked and dismayed by this abhorrent terrorist act directed at mourners commemorating the Holy Day of Ashura."

CNN's Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.