Thousands of mourners gathered in Ahvaz (Khuzestan province) on Monday, September 24, for a mass funeral held in the city for the victims of the September 22 attack, in which gunmen killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens of others. Iranian authorities also announced on Monday that they had arrested 22 people allegedly connected to the attack. A continuing crackdown on alleged militants and heightened security measures are to be expected in Ahvaz and other major Iranian cities in the coming weeks.
The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) and the Islamic State (IS) have both claimed responsibility for the September 22 Ahvaz attack. Iranian officials have blamed the US and regional allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel for facilitating the assault.
Ahvazi Arabs make up a sizable minority in Khuzestan province, with some advocating for independence and others seeking increased power in a future, federalized government. Khuzestan province has also witnessed several protests in recent months over poor economic conditions, drought and water mismanagement, and perceived discrimination against the Arab minority in the province.
The threat posed by militancy remains high in all of Iran's border areas, especially in the west and the east, partly due to weak border monitoring by neighboring countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Individuals in Ahvaz are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, remain vigilant for militant activity, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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