UK & World News

  • 26 October 2013, 15:47

Iran Hangs 16 'Rebels' To Avenge Deadly Ambush

Iran has hanged 16 "rebels" of an unspecified armed group in retaliation for the death of 14 border guards in clashes near the frontier with Pakistan.

Authorities are investigating whether the attackers were drug smugglers or armed opposition groups, according to state news agency IRNA.

In response to the killings, an Iranian prosecutor announced that 16 people linked to "terrorist" groups had been executed.

"These individuals were executed this Saturday morning in response to the terrorist action of last evening at Saravan and the martyrdom of the border guards," Mohammad Marzieh, was quoted as saying by IRNA.

He did not give any details of any trial proceedings.

The attackers ambushed security forces on Friday night in a mountainous region outside Saravan, a town in Sistan-Baluchistan province, in south-east Iran.

Some news reports said up to 20 Iranian border guards had been killed.

There were also reports of several others injured - and being captured by the attackers.

The Mehr news agency said "bandits" attacked an official post.

Rajab-Ali Sheikhzadeh, a provincial official, told the ISNA news agency: "The attackers, who saw that conditions were unsafe for their actions, retreated to the country opposite (the border) after the clash."

Security forces have fought drug traffickers before in the border region with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The area also has a history of unrest, with the mainly Sunni Muslim population complaining of discrimination at the hands of Iran's Shi'ite Muslim authorities.

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