AFP
Last updated: 29 October, 2013

Iran says four rebels killed in fresh clash

Iranian forces have killed in a fresh clash four members of an extremist rebel group that killed 14 Iranian border guards Friday, a top military commander said Tuesday.

“We clashed with Jaish-ul Adl (bandits) and killed four of them,” the Fars news agency quoted brigadier general Hossein Zolfaqari, commander of Iran’s border guards, as saying.

He did not say when or where the new clash took place.

Jaish-ul Adl, a Sunni rebel group formed last year whose name means Army of Justice in Arabic, has claimed responsibility for the deadly ambush Friday in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan in the restive southeast.

14 Iranian border guards were killed in the attack, while seven others were wounded.

Iran in retaliation said it had executed 16 “rebels” — eight Sunni insurgents and eight drug traffickers, all of whom had been on death row, according to Iranian media.

“Whatever measure they take against us, our response will be more crushing,” Zolfaqari said.

Tehran has demanded Islamabad take “measures to control the borders more seriously,” saying the militants had crossed over from Pakistan and fled back across the border after carrying out the attack.

Iran says it plans to exert more pressure on Pakistan to prevent such attacks.

“A deputy interior minister will visit Pakistan to discuss the attack,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Tuesday during her weekly briefing.

Another Sunni militant group, Jundallah, meaning Soldiers of God, has also launched deadly attacks on civilians and officials in the southeast.

Iran captured and hanged its leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, in June 2010.

The restive region near the Pakistan border is home to a large community of minority Sunni Muslims, unlike the rest of Shiite-dominated Iran.

Drug traffickers and Sunni militants have clashed with Iranian forces in the region on several occasions.