The terrorist groups were broken up through an extensive intelligence and security operation, he said on Tuesday.
The Iranian minister said 20 terrorist groups, which sought to conduct acts of sabotage, were identified and neutralized, adding, “[Members of] five other terrorist groups were also arrested.”.
Rahmani Fazli further noted that despite great efforts, which were made inside the Iraqi territory to guarantee the security of the Arba’een rituals, terrorists managed to carry out two terrorist attacks, expressing hope that such events would not happen again.
The Iranian minister described as a “bitter incident” last month's terrorist attack in the Iraqi city of Hillah, saying terrorists exploited the security flaws and carried out the assault, which saddened pilgrims as well as Iranian and Iraqi officials.
Chemical experts inspect the site of a terrorist bomb attack, at a petrol station in the city of Hillah, south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, on November 25, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
About 100 people, most of them Shia Iranian pilgrims, were killed after explosives placed in a truck were set off at a gas station in the Shomali village in the suburbs of Hillah,100 km south of Baghdad, on November 24.
The pilgrims were en route back to Iran from the Iraqi holy city of Karbala, where they had attended religious rituals commemorating Arba’een, the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam.
Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement.
Also at least eight people were killed and six injured in another Daesh terrorist attack in the Iraqi town of Ain al-Tamer, west of Karbala on November 14.