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Iranian IRGC General: Suspected Suicide Bomber Was Pakistani

Mohammad Pakpour watches a military drill in Iran. (undated)

A suicide bombing that killed 27 members of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) last week was perpetrated by a Pakistani, a senior IRGC commander has said, according to Iran's Tasnim news agency.

The bomber on February 13 struck a bus traveling on a road between the cities of Khash and Zahedan, a mountainous region along the Pakistani border that is also near Afghanistan.

One other member of the militant cell that planned the attack near the border with Pakistan was also a Pakistani citizen, the head of the IRGC's ground forces, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, said on February 19.

Pakpour's remarks appear to be the first time Tehran has said Pakistani citizens were directly involved in an attack on its territory, although Iran has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for sheltering militants in the border area.

Iran also accuses Saudi Arabia of inciting members of Iran's Sunni Muslim minority to violence. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia deny any role in attacks in Iran.

Three Iranians from Sistan and Baluchistan Province in southeast Iran were also part of the cell and two of them have been arrested, according to Pakpour. The IRGC announced three arrests in the case on February18.

The Sunni group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which says it pursues more rights and better living conditions for ethnic minority Baluchs in eastern Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Based on reporting by AP