AFP: Iran has arrested three members of a Sunni militant group which had claimed two suicide bombings at a mosque in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.
TEHRAN, October 26, 2010 (AFP) – Iran has arrested three members of a Sunni militant group which had claimed two suicide bombings at a mosque in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.
The unnamed head of the provincial intelligence department was quoted by the report as saying that the men, whose identities were not revealed, were members of Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which operates in the volatile province.
“These people were tasked with preparing equipment and required devices, the transport of explosive vests, readying and preparing the two suicide bombers, and transmitting the news about their blind operation to the group,” he said.
Jundallah claimed the twin suicide attack on July 15 in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchestan, which it said targeted members of the elite Revolutionary Guards. The attacks killed 28 people.
The men, prior to their arrests, had illegally entered a “neighbouring country” to receive proper instructions and training “for anti-security activities as well as to recruit people,” the official said.
The Mehr report said one of the men arrested was a “clergyman from a religious school in Zahedan.”
Jundallah says it is fighting for the interests of Sistan-Baluchestan’s large ethnic Baluch community who, unlike most Shiite Iranians, mainly follow the Sunni branch of Islam.
In the past decade, Jundallah has admitted responsibility for many deadly attacks on Iranian security forces as well as assaults that have led to civilian deaths.
The authorities have cracked down hard on the group, arresting many suspected members and executing its leader Abdolmalek Rigi in June.
Iran has long accused Jundallah of being trained and equipped by American, British and Pakistani intelligence services in a bid to destabilise the Shiite government in Tehran. Washington denies the charges.