Published: Fri, February 15, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

At least 20 Guard personnel killed in Iran bombing

At least 20 Guard personnel killed in Iran bombing

10 Iranian guards were injured in the attack which reportedly targeted a bus carrying security forces.

In what is seen as one of the deadliest attacks on IRGC personnel inside Iran in years, Wednesday's suicide attacker crashed an explosive-laden vehicle into a military bus, carrying IRGC elite members in southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province.

The Pakistani-based group opposes the government in Tehran and has in the past carried out successful attacks against Iranian troops, including kidnappings, and an April 2017 ambush on the Pakistan border that killed nine border guards.

In October, Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for abducting 12 Iranian security personnel near the border with Pakistan.

Almost a year after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, the country's economy has buckled under aggressive U.S. sanctions. Thirteen people were wounded.

The bombing took place on a road between the cities of Khash and Zahedan, IRNA reported, in a volatile area near Iran's border with Pakistan. The explosion was so powerful that the bus was turned into a twisted pile of metal, a photo published on Fars showed.

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In the past, Tehran has accused its main regional rival Saudi Arabia of backing Sunni militia groups who have carried out bloody attacks against Iranian security forces. Reuters could not independently verify the image.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came on the day of a US -led conference in Warsaw that included discussions on what America describes as Iran's malign influence across the wider Mideast. The meeting has been billed as a conference to counter Iran's military expansion.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Iran will seek revenge for the suicide attack, according to the news agency.

No further details about the attack were immediately available.

Another of the bloodiest attacks in recent times to have hit Iran happened in September when assailants killed 24 people at a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

Tehran immediately linked the attack in Iran's restive southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province to an ongoing US -led conference in Warsaw largely focused on Iran, just two days after the nation marked the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Sunni Islamic State and an Arab separatist group both claimed responsibility.

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