TEHRAN: President Hassan Rou­hani vowed revenge on Thursday agai­nst the “mercenary group” behind a suicide bombing which killed 27 troops in south-eastern Iran and accused the US and Israel of “supporting terrorism”.

“We will certainly make this mercenary group pay for the blood of our martyrs,” the official IRNA news agency quoted the Iranian president as saying in response to Wednesday’s deadly attack.

“The main root of terrorism in the region is America and Zionists, and some oil-producing countries in the region also financially support the terrorists,” he added.

Mr Rouhani was speaking at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport before leaving for the Russian resort of Sochi for a summit with his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the future of war-battered Syria.

The bombing was claimed by the Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Iran, the SITE Intelligence Group reported. The organisation was formed in 2012 as a successor to extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which waged a deadly insurgency for a decade before being severely weakened by the capture and execution of its leader Abdolmalek Rigi by Tehran in 2010.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2019