TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had killed four militants who had allegedly slipped across the border from Pakistan to try to carry out an attack.

They said two other militants were wounded in the clash in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, with the “rest of the terrorists fleeing to the soil of the neighbouring country”.

Sistan-Baluchestan has a large, mainly Sunni Baluchi community, which straddles the border into the Balochistan province of Pakistan.

Sunni group Jundallah or Soldiers of God launched a bloody insurgency in the area in 2000 targeting the security forces and officials of Iran’s Shia-dominated government.

The campaign peaked with a spate of deadly attacks from 2007 — including twin suicide bombings against a mosque that killed 28 people — but abated after the group’s leader was killed in mid-2010.

In 2012, Jundullah members formed a successor organisation called Jaish al-Adl or Army of Justice, which has carried out a spate of attacks on the security forces.

Iran has alleged that the group has received support from the US, British and Israeli intelligence services with the complicity of Pakistan.

In a statement on their Sepah News website, the Revolutionary Guards said the overnight clash on the Pakistani border came after “intelligence operations by the Guards’ ground forces revealed that a terrorist team linked to global arrogance planned to attack the Islamic republic’s border posts on (Friday) morning”.

“Global arrogance” is a term routinely used in Iranian official rhetoric to refer to the United States and its allies.

The violence in the southeast came less than a week after a deadly attack on a military parade in the mainly ethnic Arab city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran.

Iran blamed that attack, which killed 24 people last Saturday, on “jihadist separatists” supported by a US ally in the region.

Claims of responsibility were posted by both the militant Islamic State group and by a separatist outfit calling itself Ahvaz National Resistance.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2018