At least 20 Guard personnel killed in Iran bombing

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 14, 2019

The IRGC personnel were traveling between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, in Sistan and Baluchestan province on Wednesday, when their bus was targeted in a suicide auto bomb attack.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard exert significant economic and military power within the country, answerable only to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.

The province is populated mainly by ethnic Baluchs, who are Sunnis. Riyadh has denied the charges.

Iranian officials have blamed Saudi Arabia and the United States for stirring up dissent in the country.

The Revolutionary Guards said in a statement that a vehicle loaded with explosives had targeted a bus carrying affiliated border guards. The Revolutionary Guard later reported on its website that 27 were killed and 13 wounded.

Sistan-Baluchistan is a volatile province near the border with Pakistan, where militant groups and drug smugglers frequently operate. Images after the blast published by semi-official news agencies showed the explosion tore the bus apart, as passers-by used the light of their cellphones to illuminate the debris. Reuters could not independently verify the image.

The so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing. It kidnapped 11 Iranian border guards in October. Recent militant assaults inside Iran have sparked retaliatory ballistic missile strikes in Iraq and Syria. It runs a business empire in Iran worth billions of dollars. "The self-sacrificing military and intelligence children of the people of Iran will take revenge for the blood of the martyrs of this incident", Fars quoted him as saying.

The attack came on the heels of Iran's celebrating the 40th anniversary of its revolution, which saw the overthrow of the US -backed shah as well as the founding of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is tasked with preserving the Islamic Republic. Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of US efforts to curb its military power.

No further details about the attack were immediately available.

"Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by a terror on the very day that the #WarsawCircus begins?" he wrote.

But economic hardships fueled by USA sanctions have triggered waves of protests that sometimes call for Iran's clerical leaders to step down. In 2009, more than 40 people, including six Guard commanders, were killed in a suicide attack by Sunni extremists in Sistan and Baluchistan province. The Sunni Islamic State and an Arab separatist group both claimed responsibility.

Jaish al-Adl claimed Wednesday's bombing in a statement online. He was tried and executed.

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