Iran announces arrest of senior Daesh member and others

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian authorities on Saturday reported the arrest of a senior Daesh operative and two other group members accused of plotting a suicide attack during celebrations marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

The police identified the senior operative as Mohammad Zaker, also known by the alias “Ramesh.” The arrests occurred in Karaj, west of Tehran, after confrontations, according to Iranian media reports. Authorities also detained eight individuals accompanying the three men.

Daesh has claimed responsibility for two bombings in January. These attacks, occurring during a memorial for Qassem Soleimani, a top commander assassinated in Iraq by a U.S. drone in 2020, resulted in nearly 100 deaths and numerous injuries.

Following the January bombings, Iran detained 35 individuals, including a commander from Islamic State’s Afghanistan-based branch, ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K). These arrests were linked to the attacks on Jan. 3 in Kerman, a city in southeastern Iran.

In a separate incident on March 22, gunmen launched a deadly assault in Russia, killing at least 144 at a concert hall near Moscow. This attack, the most fatal in Russia in two decades, was also claimed by Islamic State. U.S. intelligence sources attributed the January bombings in Iran and the March shootings in Moscow to ISIS-K. Reuters was informed by sources that Iran had previously warned Russia of a potential major attack.

Daesh, responsible for numerous attacks in Iran, claimed an assault on a Shiite shrine in 2022 that killed 15 people. Past attacks include bombings in 2017 targeting Iran’s parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. At its peak, Daesh-controlled significant territories in Iraq and Syria, instilling terror and inspiring attacks in Western nations.