By Kayhan Life Staff
Abdolvahab Bakhshandeh, Prosecutor-General of Ilam, capital of the western province of Ilam, has denied reports that the deadly shooting on May 18 at the Bonyad e Mostazafan va Janbazan (Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled, or MJF) was a “hostage-taking” incident, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports. The episode left six people dead, including the gunman, and six injured.
“The term ‘hostage-taking’ was misused in the MJF’s Land Registry Office shooting incident,” IRNA reported, quoting Mr. Bakhshandeh. “The assailant had no problem entering the building, given that he was an employee of the organization.”
According to Bakhshandeh, the assailant entered the building carrying two hand grenades, and a gun hidden in a sack of rice, forcing several employees to move from the ground floor to the second floor, the IRNA report said. He then tried unsuccessfully to enter the director’s office.
“After failing to get inside the director’s office, the assailant broke a section of the door and threw a hand grenade in the room, injuring the director and a female colleague hiding in his office,” Bakhshandeh noted. “The grenade exploded, injuring the director’s thigh and the woman’s jaw.”
“Some victims said the assailant thought the hand grenade had killed the director, so he started shooting other employees with a Kalashnikov. Three of the victims died at the location, and another two died later in the hospital,” Bakhshandeh explained. “According to the testimonies of those injured, the assailant killed himself after realizing that he had no way out and was surrounded by the police. We will release a final incident report after reviewing the findings of the medical examiner’s office and special homicide investigator and CCTV footage.”
The MJF is a charitable foundation founded in 1979, replacing the pre-Islamic Pahlavi Foundation. It controls a large segment of Iranian manufacturing and industries, using the profits to improve “the living standards of the disabled and the disadvantaged.”
The MJF is reportedly the second-largest commercial enterprise in the Islamic Republic after the National Iranian Oil Company and the biggest holding company in the Middle East. Many of the foundation’s senior directors have been members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has direct oversight of the MJF.
Bakhshandeh noted that the MJF had paid salaries of all employees on time, adding that “the shooting resulted from personal disputes.”
“Law enforcement forces arrived at the scene quickly and fulfilled their duties. They were not negligent,” Bakhshandeh argued. “We are investigating the delayed response to the shooting by the emergency services and Emergency-115.”
“The assailant had two previous convictions, but neither was a criminal offense, given the statute of limitations,” Bakhshandeh explained. “Many inaccurate reports about this incident have been circulating on social media. They do not warrant any response. We must allow experts, especially the Judiciary, to investigate the incident.”
“We assure the community that the Judiciary will do its utmost and use all its resources to investigate this tragic incident and fully share its findings with the public,” Bakhshandeh concluded.
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Initially, the Tehran-based Tasnim News Agency reported on May 18 that a gunman had shot dead three and wounded another seven employees of the Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled (MJF) in Ilam.
“The assailant, a former MJF’s Land Registry Office employee, reportedly took several people hostage. After killing three employees and injuring another seven, the hostage-taker then turned the gun on himself,” the report by Tasnim added.
“In an incident earlier his morning at the MJF’s Land Registry Office in Ilam, a former employee who had been fired took several hostages and ultimately shot some of them,” Tasnim said, quoting commander Delavar Alghazi-Mehr, Ilam’s chief of police. “The hostage-taker killed three employees and then committed suicide. Five others were injured.”
There are conflicting reports about the exact number of dead and injured.