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Iranian terrorist group claims responsibility for troops’ abduction near Pakistan border

TEHRAN (AFP): A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the abduction of 12 Iranian security personnel near the border with Pakistan, Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Monday.

“The terrorist group Jaish al Adl [Army of Justice in Arabic] has posted two photos… claiming that those in it are the forces abducted” on October 16, ISNA said.

Jaish al Adl, formed in 2012, is a successor to the extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God) which has carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security forces in recent years in the southeastern province of Sistan-Balochistan.

The photos show seven members of the elite Revolutionary Guards force and five police commandos, all in combat gear, according to state news agency IRNA.

The Iranians, including intelligence offices, were abducted near Lulakdan, a village 150km southeast of Zahedan, capital of Sistan-Balochistan.

They were “made unconscious” by a “single infiltrator” and then kidnapped and taken to bases inside Pakistan, said Guards commander Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, quoted by IRNA.

The pictures also show a haul of automatic weapons and sniper rifles, rocket launchers, machine-guns, grenades and ammunition, apparently seized from the Iranian forces.

On October 15, a delegation led by the Guards’ ground forces commander Mohammad Pakpour visited Pakistan to follow up on efforts to free the Iranians, the force said on its website.

Islamabad said last Wednesday that it has launched “active” efforts to locate the missing men.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has blamed the kidnapping on “our common enemies unhappy with the existing close, friendly relations between Pakistan and Iran”.

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14 Iranian security troops kidnapped on southeastern border

LONDON (AFP): 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.