A suicide attack on Wednesday on a bus carrying members of the Revolutionary Guards in southeastern Iran killed at least 27 people.
“The suicide attack on an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel bus happened on the Khash-Zahedan road,” IRNA said.
The road is located in the volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
The Guards issued a statement confirming the attack. It said the troops were returning from the border.
“In this suicide attack a car filled with explosives blew up besides a bus carrying a unit of the Guards’ ground forces causing the martyrdom and wounding of a number of the protectors of our Islamic homeland’s border,” the statement read.
Iranian state media blamed the al-Qaeda-linked Sunni extremist group Jaish al-Adl for the bombing.
The semi-official Fars news agency reported 40 members of the IRGC were on board the bus at the time of the attack.
— Press TV (@PressTV) February 13, 2019
The attack took place in the volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan which has a large, mainly Sunni Muslim ethnic Baluchi community that straddles the border with Pakistan.
On January 29 three members of an Iranian bomb squad sent to the scene of an explosion in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, were wounded when a second device blew up as they were trying to defuse it, police said at the time.
And in early December last year two people were killed and around 40 others wounded in the port city of Chabahar, also in Sistan-Baluchistan, in an attack which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the time blamed on “foreign-backed terrorists” — a reference to Sunni Muslim extremists.
Last September at least 29 people were killed and over 60 wounded in an attack on an IRGC parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz. It was the deadliest such attack in Iran in nearly a decade.
Militants disguised as soldiers opened fire on the annual Iranian military parade in an attack claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group.
Iranian authorities blamed “jihadist separatists” for the assault claiming they were backed by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.
The attack comes just days after Iran marked 40 years since the Islamic Revolution with numerous high-profile events.
Monday was the culmination of official celebrations called the “10 Day Dawn” that mark the period between February 1 and February 11, 1979, when Shiite cleric Khomeini returned from exile and ousted the shah’s last government.