Headline News
28 die as bombers hit Shiite mosque
Published Date: July 17, 2010 

TEHRAN: Two rebel suicide bombers killed at least 28 people, including elite 
Revolutionary Guards, at a prominent Shiite Muslim mosque in southeast Iran, 
weeks after a Sunni rebel leader was hanged in the region. The Sunni Muslim 
rebel group Jundollah said it set off the bombs in the Islamic state on 
Thursday, telling Al Arabiya television in an email it carried them out in 
retaliation for Iran's execution in June of the group's leader, Abdolmalek Rigi.

Jundollah says it fights for the rights of Iran's Sunni Muslim minority. The 
clerical leadership accuses its arch foe, the United States, of backing 
Jundollah in order to create instability in Iran. Washington denies the charge. 
The powerful bombs exploded near the city of Zahedan's Grand Mosque scattering 
body parts around the holy site, and Jundollah said they were carried out by 
relatives of Rigi and were aimed at a Revolutionary Guards gathering.

The group said the suicide attacks were carried out by Abdolbaset Rigi and 
Mohammad Rigi ... and warned of more operations to come," Dubai-based Al 
Arabiya said. Senior lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi blamed Washington for the 
attacks, saying the United States should be held accountable for the "terrorist 
acts in Zahedan" because of its support for Jundollah, the official IRNA news 
agency said.

In the two explosions in Zahedan at least 28 people were killed and over 169 
were injured," Mansour Shakiba, head of the Medical School at 
Sistan-Baluchestan province, told the semi-official Mehr news agency. Iran's 
deputy Interior Minister in charge of security, Ali Abdollahi, said "a number 
of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were killed and injured," the semi-official Fars 
news agency reported.

Iran announced three days of public mourning in the province, IRNA said. Iran 
is locked in a dispute with the United States and its allies over Tehran's 
nuclear program, which the West says is designed to produce nuclear weapons and 
Iranian officials say aims to generate power. Predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran 
arrested Rigi in February, four months after Jundollah claimed responsibility 
for a bombing which killed dozens of people, including 15 members of the Guards.

It was the deadliest attack in Iran since the 1980s. Zahedan is the capital of 
Sistan-Baluchestan province which shares a border with Pakistan. The province 
faces serious security problems and there are frequent clashes between police 
and drug dealers and bandits. In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary 
Clinton condemned the attacks "in the strongest possible terms." "This attack, 
along with the recent attacks in Uganda, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and 
Algeria, underscores the global community's need to work together to combat 
terrorist organizations that threaten the lives of innocent civilians all 
around the world," Clinton said in a statement.

Iran says Jundollah has links to Sunni Islamist Al-Qaeda and in the past has 
accused Pakistan, Britain and the United States of backing Jundollah to create 
instability in southeast Iran. All three countries have denied this, and 
Jundollah denies having any links with Al-Qaeda. "Confessions of Abdolmalek 
Rigi prove that America, Israel and some European countries are directly 
involved in the attacks," said Guards official Yadollah Javadi, Fars reported. 
"The enemies of our country try to create conflicts between Shiites and Sunnis.

In May 2009, a suicide bomber killed 30 people and wounded more than 120 in an 
attack on a mosque in Zahedan. Iran is grappling with ethnic and religious 
tensions in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, where authorities 
have responded to attacks by Sunni rebels with a spate of hangings. Rights 
groups and the West have condemned the hangings. Iran rejects allegations by 
rights groups that it discriminates against ethnic and religious minorities. - 

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