Iran Dismisses Sabotage in Mosque Blast

Associated Press Published: April 13, 2008
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian officials on Sunday ruled out an attack as the cause of an explosion that killed 11 people in the southern city of Shiraz, saying it was an accident that was likely caused by leftover ammunition.

The explosion ripped through a mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers late Saturday as a cleric delivered his weekly speech against extremist Wahabi beliefs and the outlawed Baha'i faith, the semiofficial Fars news agency said.

Authorities said besides the 11 killed, 191 people were wounded, some of them critically, the state IRNA news agency reported.

On Sunday, the deputy interior minister in charge of security, Abbas Mohtaj, said the "explosion was due to an accident which is under investigation."

"It was not because of bombing," Mohtaj said, but did not elaborate.

The police chief of the southern Fars Province, Gen. Ali Moayyedi, said he "rejects" the possibility of an intentional bombing and "any sort of insurgency" in the blast.

Moayyedi, in comments carried by state IRNA news agency, said the initial investigation found remnants of ammunition from a military exhibition that was held recently at the mosque.

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