Attack on southeast Iran police station kills one: state media

TEHRAN (AFP) : An attack on a police station killed an Iranian policeman in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan on Saturday near the Pakistani border, state media reported.
“Four unidentified armed individuals attacked and entered police station Number 16 of Zahedan” the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, according to state broadcaster IRIB, quoting the province’s deputy head of security Alireza Marhamati.
The attackers used grenades to blast open the gates of the police station and an exchange of fire occurred, said Marhamati, adding that “one policeman was martyred.”
In late May, the IRNA state news agency quoted a police official, Qassem Rezaee, as saying “Taliban forces” had shot at an Iranian police station in Sistan-Baluchistan province, a drought-parched border region which also borders Afghanistan. The two countries have been arguing over water rights.
Iranian police did not give details of casualties in that incident but local news agency Mehr reported one Iranian border guard had been killed. Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban said one person was killed on each side.
Sistan-Baluchistan is one of Iran’s poorest provinces and is home to the Baluchi minority, who adhere to Sunni Islam rather than the Shiite branch predominant in Iran.
The area has seen clashes involving drug smuggling gangs as well as rebels from the Baluchi minority and Sunni Muslim extremist groups.
In May, five Iranian border guards were killed during clashes with an armed group in Saravan, one of the deadliest attacks in Sistan-Baluchistan in months.
State-media reported at the time that the attack was carried out by “a terrorist group that was seeking to infiltrate the country” but whose members “fled the scene after suffering injuries.”