US intelligence confirms ISIS’ Afghanistan branch behind Iran blasts: Sources

Communications intercepts collected by the United States confirmed that ISIS’ Afghanistan-based branch carried out twin bombings in Iran that killed nearly 100 people, two sources familiar with the intelligence told Reuters on Friday.

“The intelligence is clear cut and indisputable,” one source said.

That source and a second, both of whom requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue, said that the intelligence comprised communications intercepts without providing further details. The collection of the intercepts has not been previously reported.

ISIS on Thursday claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s bombings, saying two operatives wearing explosive suicide belts staged the attack during a memorial service for Qassem Suleimani, a senior military commander assassinated in Iraq in a 2020 US drone strike.

The group, however, did not specify that its Afghanistan-based affiliate, known as ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K), was responsible for the bombings in the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman.

“The US has pretty clear intel” that ISIS-K conducted the attack, the first source said.

The Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment.

Iran on Friday said security forces had arrested 11 people suspected of involvement in the attack and had seized explosive devices and vests.

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