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Thousands Gather In Tehran To Mourn Victims Of Attacks

Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) prays near the coffins of victims who died in a terror attack at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Tehran as Iran held funeral ceremonies for the victims of twin attacks that killed 17 people earlier this week.

The ceremonies began on June 9 at the parliament building, one of the targets of the June 7 attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

The bodies of the victims -- in coffins draped in national flags and covered with flowers -- were then taken for a religious funeral procession near Revolution Square in central Tehran, where Friday Prayers take place.

People in the crowds chanted "Death to Saudi Arabia" alongside the more customary slogans against the United States and Israel.

In a message read at the funeral, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the attacks will add to what he said was the hatred Iranians harbor towards the United States and Saudi Arabia -- a major Sunni power and regional archrival of Shi'ite-ruled Iran.

Khamenei said the attacks "will not damage the Iranian nation's determination and the obvious result is nothing except an increase in hate for the governments of the United States and their stooges in the region like Saudi [Arabia]."

Iranian police say they have arrested several suspects in their investigation into the attacks on parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the 1979 revolution against the U.S.-backed shah and is considered the founder of the Islamic republic.

Iranian media reported on June 9 that two of the suspects were arrested in a police raid in the western province of Kermanshah, where "some terrorist cells have also been dismantled."

The Intelligence Ministry said on June 8 that five men involved in the attacks were Iranians who joined IS in Iraq and Syria.

The ministry said the group returned to Iran in the summer of 2016 to carry out terrorist operations in religious places, and escaped when authorities broke up their cell.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and RFE/RL’s Radio Farda