Canadian Press: Iranian state television is reporting that police killed 12 people suspected of terrorist activities in a shootout Thursday. The Canadian Press
TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian state television is reporting that police killed 12 people suspected of terrorist activities in a shootout Thursday.
Reports say they also detained five others in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The TV report says police were pursuing a group of “counterrevolutionaries,” clashed with them and killed their leader and 11 others near the town of Iranshahr, about 1,600 kilometres southeast of Tehran.
The report says police also confiscated explosive materials, bombs and weaponry at the clash site.
Gen. Mohammad Ghaffari, the province’s police chief, told the TV the suspects were members of Jundallah, or God’s Brigade, a group active in the area.
The group has been blamed for past attacks on Iranian troops.
In February, Iran hanged a member of the group, convicted of a bombing that same month that killed 11 members of the Revolutionary Guards in Zahedan, the provincial capital. Jundallah is also believed by some to have links to al-Qaida.
Ghaffari said the police also detained five members of the group during the clash. He said the group planned to launch “terrorist activities in coordination with foreigners soon” but did not elaborate.
Iran has repeatedly accused the U.S. of backing militants and ethnic opposition groups to destabilize the Iranian government. Tensions between Tehran and Washington are growing over allegations of Iranian involvement in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, and over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.
A majority of Iran’s population is Shiite Muslim but minority Sunnis live in southeastern Iran, a region long plagued by lawlessness. The area, near Pakistan and Afghanistan, is a key crossing point for narcotics, often seeing clashes between police and drug gangs.