Saturday, October 26, 2013

Iran rebels \'hanged in reprisal for border deaths\'

Sixteen rebels have been hanged in south-eastern Iran in retaliation for clashes in which 17 border guards were killed, say Iranian news agencies.

The rebels were \"linked to groups hostile to the regime\", the attorney general of Sistan-Baluchistan province was quoted as saying.

They were hanged in prison in Zahedan, north-east of Saravan, where the border deaths took place overnight.

The hanged rebels were not accused of carrying out the border killings.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, on Friday night in a mountainous region outside Saravan, on the border with Pakistan.

An armed Sunni group, called Jundallah, has carried out a number of attacks against the state in recent years.

The Sunni Muslim population in Sistan-Baluchestan complains of discrimination by Iran\'s Shia establishment.

\"Sixteen rebels linked to groups hostile to the regime were hanged this morning in the prison of Zahedan in response to the death of border guards in Saravan,\" Mohammad Marzieh, the provincial attorney general of Sistan-Baluchestan province, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

The hangings were also reported by the Iranian Students News Agency (Isna).

A number of guards were also wounded in the attack, reports said.

An unnamed official earlier quoted by Irna blamed \"bandits or rebels opposed to the Islamic republic\", but Saravan\'s member of parliament, Hedayatollah Mirmoradzehi, said no group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Fars has quoted the province\'s deputy governor-general, Rajabali Sheikhzadeh, as saying the culprits fled to Pakistan following the border attack.

The region has experienced frequent deadly clashes in recent years.

Iran lies on a major drug trafficking route between Afghanistan and Europe.

AFP news agency quotes officials as saying more than 4,000 police officers and soldiers have been killed in the past three decades in fighting with traffickers.
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