Hundreds of mourners flooded the streets of an Iranian city on Thursday, resisting a violent crackdown on rallies over the death of Mahsa Amini that appears to be intensifying. The foreign minister and media of Iran emphasized the possibility of civil conflict.
This week's demonstrations coincided with the third anniversary of "Bloody Aban," or Bloody November when hundreds were killed in a crackdown on street unrest sparked by an overnight decision to raise fuel prices.
The Oslo-based Hengaw rights group reported that security forces murdered one demonstrator in Bukan and two in Sanandaj on Thursday when mourners paid respect to "four victims of the public resistance" forty days after their deaths.
Later, the state news agency IRNA revealed that police colonel Hassan Youssefi was stabbed in Sanandaj, around 200 kilometers west of Tehran. In a video released by Hengaw, crowds of people can be seen swarming the streets while shooting can be heard.
According to IRNA, "rioters" vandalized and torched public property in Bukan, including the municipal building. The report added that cops dispersed them later.
Separately, the news agency reported that two Basij members were stabbed to death and three others were injured when they attempted to prevent "rioters" from threatening businesses in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, was the target of protestors' anger as they marched through a street in Sanandaj lined with bonfires chanting "Death to the tyrant."
The Iranian custom of holding a "chehelom" mourning ceremony forty days after a death has fueled the protests, which have become the regime's greatest challenge on the streets in decades.
Elsewhere, Hengaw accused the security forces of killing at least ten people during protests in many locations within 24 hours ending late Wednesday night.
In a separate attack hours later in Iran's third largest city, Isfahan, two motorcyclists killed two members of the Basij paramilitary group. They wounded two others, according to the Fars news agency.
IRNA later reported that a police colonel who was hurt in Isfahan on Wednesday succumbed to his wounds in a hospital on Thursday.
IRNA reported that another police colonel was stabbed to death in Sanandaj.
IRNA said that in the southern city of Izeh, "a terrorist organization exploited a gathering of protestors" to kill seven people, including a 45-year-old lady and two children aged 9 and 13. Three police officers and two members of the Basij were injured, a security official informed state television.
However, a family member of Kian Pirfalak, the nine-year-old slain on Wednesday, accused security agents of carrying out the attack. The charge was made in a tweet sent by Radio Farda, which is supported by the United States.
Hossein Amir-Abollahian, Iran's foreign minister, has accused Israel and its allies of preparing a civil war in the Islamic Republic.
However, he stated that they "must realize that Iran is neither Libya or Sudan" and that the "wisdom of our people has foiled their scheme."
According to the authorities-affiliated Fars news agency, the attacks indicate that "those who wish to undermine the country have reached the armed action phase."