TEHRAN: Three Iranian security personnel were killed by militants in an attack along the country’s border with Pakistan on Tuesday.

An Iranian police officer was killed in an ambush on a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Balu­ch­estan province, and two soldiers died when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said.

According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, three of the attackers were also killed by security forces in retaliatory fire.

The guards and the attackers, whom IRNA identified as terrorist suspects, exchan­ged gunfire for two hours before dawn on Tuesday at the Mirjaveh border crossing.

The guards were identified as Maj Vahid Hossein­zadeh and Abolfazl Gholampour.

Iran has criticised Pakis­tan in the past for supporting the Jaish al-Adl jihadist group, which it accuses of ties to Al Qaeda and carrying out numerous attacks in Sistan-Baluchestan.

Security forces also frequently clash with drug traffickers in the restive province, which lies on a major smuggling route for Afghan opium and heroin.

On Monday, Iran said security forces had confiscated a large amount of weapons and ammunition from militants in the area.

In April last year, 10 Iranian border guards were killed by militants in Mirjaveh.

From 2005 to 2010, Sistan-Baluchestan suffered a prolonged insurgency by the jihadist group Jundallah, although violence was largely curbed after the killing of its leader in mid-2010.

Sunni militant groups which have carried out several deadly attacks in recent years say they are fighting against discrimination.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018

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