– Two police officers and four attackers were killed when gunmen and suicide bombers stormed a police station in Iran‘s restive southeast on Saturday, Iranian state television reported.

The attack occurred in Zahedan, capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, scene of some of the bloodiest protests during a wave of nationwide unrest last year triggered by the death of a young Kurdish woman in the custody of the morality police.

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State television said “all four terrorists” and two policemen had died in the raid. A police spokesman said three attackers had died, according to different media reports.

Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, is one of Iran‘s poorest provinces and a major drug trafficking route.

Human rights groups say the Baluch minority, estimated to number up to 2 million people, has faced discrimination and repression for decades.

Zahedan has been the scene of weekly protests since the killing of protesters on Sept. 30, 2022, even as unrest has subsided in most other parts of the country.

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Amnesty International has said security forces killed at least 66 people in the crackdown on protesters. Authorities sacked Zahedan’s police commander and a police station chief afterwards.

Authorities blamed the start of the shooting on Sept. 30 on Jaish al-Adl, or Army of Justice, a Baluch militant group which they say operates from safe havens in Pakistan. Neither Jaish al-Adl nor any other group claimed a role.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom. Editing by Kim Coghill, Alison Williams and Helen Popper)

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