Two Bombs Explode in Southeast Iran, Police Officers Wounded

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Two bombs exploded on Tuesday in front of a police station in the city of Zahedan in southeastern Iran, local officials told state media, causing minor injuries to three police officers.

Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for the explosions. The group said it had targeted a police station with “two strong bombs”, damaging a police car and motorcycle.

State news agency IRNA quoted the head of Sistan-Baluchestan police Mohammad Qanbari as saying the first explosion was caused by a percussion grenade. He said a “suspicious package” was also found on the street and exploded before being neutralised by a bomb disposal unit, injuring three police officers.

Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province where Iranian security forces often clash with armed drugs smugglers and Sunni militants. The province is home to mostly Sunni ethnic Baluchis, a minority in predominantly Shi’ite Iran.

In October, Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for kidnapping 10 Iranian security personnel including Revolutionary Guards in Sistan-Baluchestan. Some are still being held.

The group has said in the past that its attacks were retaliation for what it called the Iranian state’s oppression of Sunnis in Sistan-Baluchestan.

In September, the Revolutionary Guards killed four Sunni militants at a border crossing with Pakistan, including the second-in-command of Jaish al-Adl.

Shi’ite Iran has accused its regional Sunni rival Saudi Arabia of funding separatist groups on its territory. Riyadh has denied any involvement inIranian internal affairs.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Editing by Janet Lawrence)