First Published: 2007-02-15

Iran arrests militants for bomb attack

Tehran claims attackers have links to US, British intelligence, produces rebel video as evidence.


Middle East Online

11 Revolutionary Guards were killed

TEHRAN - Iran has arrested scores of people over a deadly bomb attack on a bus carrying Revolutionary Guards, alleging links to US and British intelligence, the state news agency IRNA reported Thursday.

"Some key members linked with the Jundallah terrorist group were arrested last night," said Brigadier General Mohammad Ghafari, a top police official in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Jundallah is a shadowy group that claimed responsibly for the Wednesday attack, which killed 11 members of the elite military unit and injured 31 in the city of Zahedan.

Ghafari said "65 suspects as well as the three responsible for the attack were arrested ... one of the main bombers was killed." He did not specify how many among the suspects were linked to Jundallah.

"A video seized from the rebels confirms their attachment to opposition groups and some countries' intelligence services such as America and Britain."

He added that police had seized 80 pounds (36 kilogrammes) of TNT, as well as weapons, in a raid on a "house belonging to the key members of Jundallah".

The bomb was hidden in a car and exploded as gunfire stopped the bus, which was taking the guards from their housing compound in Zahedan to a military base.

Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, which borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has been the centre of low-level unrest over the past months.

It has a substantial Baluch community, a minority Sunni Muslim group, in Shiite-majority Iran.

The upsurge in unrest in Sistan-Baluchestan comes after violence in Iran's oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan, which has a minority Arab population.

Iranian officials have repeatedly accused Britain and the United States of supporting ethnic minority rebels operating in sensitive border areas.


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