Sui­cide bomber kills at least two in Iran

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE -

DUBAI: At least two po­lice­men died and 48 peo­ple were in­jured in a rare sui­cide car bomb at­tack by a Sunni mil­i­tant group on a po­lice head­quar­ters in the port city of Chaba­har in south­east Iran Thurs­day, state me­dia re­ported.

While sui­cide bomb­ings are rare in Iran, such groups have car­ried out sev­eral at­tacks on se­cu­rity forces in re­cent years in Sis­tan-Baluches­tan prov­ince, where Chaba­har is lo­cated.

The prov­ince is home to a Sunni mi­nor­ity in the largely Shi­ite coun­try, and it has also long been plagued by vi­o­lence from both drug smug­glers and sep­a­ratists. State tele­vi­sion also re­ported shoot­ing in the area.

“Two po­lice­men were killed in the ter­ror­ist at­tack in Chaba­har this morn­ing,” Hadi Marashi, deputy gov­er­nor for se­cu­rity af­fairs, told state TV.

Videos posted on Twit­ter, pur­port­edly from Chaba­har, showed thick smoke ris­ing. TV re­ported that four chil­dren, a preg­nant woman and 10 po­lice­men were among the wounded.

“Po­lice stopped the ex­plo­sive­laden car and started fir­ing at the driver … who then set off the ex­plo­sion near the po­lice head­quar­ters in Chaba­har,” Chaba­har’s act­ing gov­er­nor Rah­mdel Bameri told TV.

The Wash­ing­ton-based SITE In­tel­li­gence Group and state me­dia re­ported that Sunni mil­i­tant group An­sar al-Furqan had claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack.

“Such ter­ror­ist acts, which are de­signed and adopted by en­e­mies to di­vide the Ira­nian na­tion,

are doomed to fail­ure and will make us more de­ci­sive in our fight against ter­ror­ism,” First Vice Pres­i­dent Eshagh Ja­hangiri said.

Iran’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard promised to give a “crush­ing” re­sponse to the at­tack, state TV re­ported.

In June, the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps said it had killed An­sar alFurqan’s sus­pected leader, Molavi Jalil Qan­bar-Zehi, in a moun­tain­ous area of Sis­tan-Baluches­tan.

A year ago the group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for a blast at an oil pipe­line in south­ern Khuzes­tan prov­ince.

Iran has stepped up se­cu­rity in bor­der ar­eas after gun­men in Septem­ber opened fire on a mil­i­tary pa­rade in the south­west­ern city of Ah­vaz, killing 25 peo­ple, al­most half of them mem­bers of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard.

Last year, in the first deadly as­sault claimed by Daesh (ISIS) in Tehran, 18 peo­ple were killed at the Par­lia­ment and mau­soleum of rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­ini.

Tehran ac­cuses its Sunni-led re­gional ri­val Saudi Ara­bia and the United States of fund­ing Sunni mil­i­tants, a charge Riyadh and Wash­ing­ton deny.

“For­eign-backed ter­ror­ists kill & wound in­no­cents in Chaba­har. As we’ve made clear in the past, such crimes won’t go un­pun­ished,” For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif tweeted. “Mark my words: Iran WILL bring ter­ror­ists & their masters to jus­tice.”

Iran says mil­i­tant groups are shel­ter­ing across the bor­der in Pak­istan, and it has threat­ened to at­tack their bases if Islamabad does not con­front them.

Chaba­har is a free trade zone and the site of an In­dian-backed port com­plex be­ing de­vel­oped as part of a new trans­porta­tion cor­ri­dor for land­locked Afghanistan. The In­dian For­eign Min­istry con­demned Thurs­day’s at­tack. “The per­pe­tra­tors be­hind this das­tardly at­tack should be brought to jus­tice ex­pe­di­tiously. There can be no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for any act of ter­ror,” the min­istry said.

In­dia has said it is ready to in­vest up to $500 mil­lion to de­velop the port as it seeks to cre­ate a route to land­locked Cen­tral Asian coun­tries and Afghanistan that by­passes Pak­istan.

Wash­ing­ton has granted ex­cep­tions to some U.S. sanc­tions on Iran for the project de­spite pulling out of a 2015 nu­clear deal be­tween Tehran and ma­jor world pow­ers and reim­pos­ing other sanc­tions that were lifted un­der the pact. –

Mas­sive dam­age after a sui­cide bomber det­o­nated his car out­side a po­lice sta­tion in Chaba­har, Iran.

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