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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

17-hours battle with militant separatist group kills 10 security officers and 18 miscreants

State television broadcast footage of gunmen running in the streets of Sistan and Baluchestan province as loud explosions from rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire rocked the two cities, and large plumes of smoke billowed into the air. Forty-four people were injured, the ministry said

Farnaz Fassihi, Leily Nikounazar New York Published 06.04.24, 06:39 AM
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Representational image File image

Iranian security forces battled simultaneous terrorist attacks by a militant separatist group in a southwest province that raged for nearly 17 hours, with intense gunfights in the streets of two cities that resulted in the deaths of 10 security officers and 18 militants, the ministry of interior said Thursday.

State television broadcast footage of gunmen running in the streets of Sistan and Baluchestan province as loud explosions from rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire rocked the two cities, and large plumes of smoke billowed into the air. Forty-four people were injured, the ministry said.

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Jaish al-Adl, a separatist ethnic Baluch group designated by the US as a terrorist organisation, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Iran’s deputy interior minister, Majid Mirahmadi, said on state television that the fighting had raged for hours, from 10pm (local time) on Wednesday to 3pm on Thursday. The gunmen entered homes, taking civilians hostage to use as human shields, but security forces released them, he said. The militants wore vests with explosives, and several blew themselves up during the fighting, he added.

The gunmen tried to take over military bases belonging to the Revolutionary Guard, which is responsible for securing Iran’s borders, in the cities of Chabahar, home to a shipping port, and Rask, according to a statement from the Guard published in Iranian news media.

“They did not achieve their ominous goals and failed,” Mirahmadi said on state television. “Their goal was to seize the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards in Rask and martyr the security forces, and capture the headquarters of the Guards, naval outposts and security forces headquarters in Chabahar.”

The attacks came at a time of heightened tensions in the country. Israeli airstrikes on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, killed three senior commanders from the Guard’s Quds Forces and four officers on Monday.

The southwest region of Iran where the attacks took place is a restive and underdeveloped area near the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

New York Times News Service

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