Militants kill three Iranian border guards near Pakistani border

Militants kill three Iranian border guards near Pakistani border
Three Iranian border guards were killed in restive Sistan and Baluchestan province near the Pakistani border by militants belonging to an unnamed group on Monday night
2 min read
26 June, 2018
Separatist and al-Qaeda militants often clash with Iranian forces near the Pakistani border [Twitter]

Three border guards have been killed in a clash with a "terrorist group" in southeastern Iran, the country's semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The Tuesday report said the clash took place in Mirjaveh, a town in Sistan and Baluchestan Province near the Pakistani border, some 1,150 kilometers (715 miles) southeast of Tehran on Monday night.

During the clash, powerful Revolutionary Guard forces killed three of the militants and wounded an unspecified number of others. Fars reported that others escaped into Pakistan.

The report did not say what group the insurgents belonged to.

The area has been the scene of occasional clashes over the years between Iranian forces and militant groups believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Sistan-Baluchestan is majority Sunni and home to the Baluchi speaking ethnic minority. 

From 2005 to 2010, the militant Jundallah group - made up of Baluchi-speakers who are found on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border - waged an insurgency in Sistan-Baluchestan.

Violence in the area was largely curbed after its leader Abdulmalik Rigi was killed in 2010. 

The province also lies on a major smuggling route for Afghan opium and heroin. 

Violence has sporadically cropped up since 2010 in Sistan-Baluchestan. In April 2017, ten Iranians were killed by militants in Mirjaveh. 

Iran has criticised Pakistan for supporting the Jaysh al-Adl - formed in 2012 by prior Jundallah members - which it says is tied to al-Qaeda and is responsible for numerous attacks in the province.