TEHRAN: Two policemen were killed on Satur­day in Iran’s restive southeast near Pakistan, Iran­ian media said, in an attack claimed by jihadists that left four assailants dead.

The grenade attack and ensuing firefight at a police station was the latest violence to hit Sistan-Baluchistan province, where unrest has involved drug smuggling gangs, rebels from the Baluch minority and Sunni extremist groups.

Also on Saturday, the Islamic republic’s judiciary said two men were hanged in public over a deadly shooting last year at a revered shrine in the southern city of Shiraz.

In Zahedan, the Sistan-Baluchistan provincial capital, “four unidentified armed individuals attacked and entered police station Number 16,” state broadcaster IRIB reported, citing the province’s deputy head of security Alireza Marhamati.

The attackers used grenades to blast open the gates of the police station, and an exchange of fire occurred, said Marhamati. The jihadist Jaish al-Adl group, which was formed in 2012 and is blacklisted by Iran as a “terrorist” group, claimed responsibility, SITE Intelligence Group reported.

All four “terrorists” involved were killed, according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

The targeted police station is located near Zahedan’s Makki Mosque, where last year thousands protested following the alleged rape of a teenage girl in custody in the port city of Chabahar.

Iran on Saturday executed two men over the attack, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said. The pair were hanged at dawn on a street near the shrine in Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, IRNA reported. Mizan identified them as Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Naeem Hashem Qatali, but did not reveal their nationalities.

Iran had previously said the attack involved people from other countries including neighbouring Afghanistan.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2023

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