IRAN SAYS 5 TEHRAN ATTACKERS HAD FOUGHT FOR ISLAMIC STATE

Five of the men who launched an attack in the heart of Iran's capital previously fought for the Islamic State group, the country's Intelligence Ministry said Thursday, acknowledging the first such assault by the extremists in the Shiite power.

The attacks Wednesday on Iran's parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader killed at least 17 people and wounded over 40, stunning its people.

The ministry issued a statement on its website with bloody pictures of the men's corpses. It identified them only by their first names, saying they didn't want to release their last names due to security and privacy concerns for their families.

It described them as "long affiliated with the Wahhabi," an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. However, it stopped short of directly blaming the kingdom for the attack, though many in the country expressed suspicion Iran's regional rival had a hand in the attack.

The men had left Iran to fight for the extremist group in Mosul, Iraq, as well as Raqqa, Syria -- the group's de facto capital, the ministry said. It said they returned to Iran in August under the command of an Islamic State leader and escaped when authorities initially broke up their extremist cell.

The ministry did not identify the men's hometowns, nor say how they were able to evade authorities. A woman suspected to be involved in the attack was arrested Wednesday.

Source: National News Agency