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14 Iranian security troops kidnapped on southeastern border

LONDON: Fourteen Iranian security forces, including members of the Revolutionary Guards, were kidnapped on the southeastern border on Tuesday, state news agency IRNA reported, citing an official who said the kidnappers were members of a terrorist group.

Armed militant groups in eastern Iran have stepped up attacks against security targets in recent months.

 “These 14 people were kidnapped around 4 or 5 a.m. in Lulakdan border area,” IRNA quoted the unnamed official as saying.

Lulakdan is in Sistan-Balochistan, a mainly Sunni province that has long been plagued by unrest from both separatist militants and drug smuggling gangs.

In September, the Revolutionary Guards killed four militants at a border crossing with Pakistan, including the second-in-command of Jaish al-Adl, a group that has carried out several attacks on Iranian military targets in recent years.

AFP citing the Young Journalists’ Club (YJC), a state-owned news website, said, the 14 were involved in “a security operation” and included two members of the elite Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit, seven Basij militiamen and five regular border guards.

Sistan-Baluchistan has a large, mainly Sunni Muslim community which straddles the border.

An extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God) launched a bloody insurgency in the province in 2000 targeting the security forces and officials of Iran’s government.

The campaign peaked with a spate of deadly attacks from 2007 — including twin suicide bombings against a Shiite 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 (Army of Justice), which has carried out a spate of attacks on the security forces.

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