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Iran Revolutionary Guards general survives deadly ambush in restive region — report

Bodyguard killed near checkpoint in Sistan-Baluchistan province; attackers arrested, says Iran state TV

Illustrative: Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) march during the annual military parade, marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran, on September 22, 2018. (AFP/STR)
Illustrative: Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) march during the annual military parade, marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran, on September 22, 2018. (AFP/STR)

An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general is said to have survived a deadly attack that killed a bodyguard, according to a report on Iranian state TV Saturday.

Brigadier General Hossein Almassi, a Guards commander in the restive Sistan-Baluchistan province, was traveling in a vehicle near a checkpoint in the provincial capital Zahedan when it came under fire by gunmen, Reuters reported Saturday, citing Iranian TV.

The general sustained no injuries, the report said.

The bodyguard who was slain was identified as Mahmoud Absalom, the son of a senior IRGC commander in the region, according to a report by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Authorities have arrested some suspects but did not identify them, the report added.

Sistan-Baluchistan is the site of occasional clashes between Iranian forces and various militant groups. The relationship between the predominantly Sunni residents of the region and Iran’s Shiite theocracy has long been fraught.

The province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, is a base for a Sunni separatist group affiliated with al-Qaeda and known as Jeish al-Adl, or Army of Justice.

Security forces have also clashed with drug traffickers in the province, located along a major smuggling route for Afghan opium and heroin.

In January, IRGC forces said they killed an unidentified gunman who attacked its intelligence office in the town of Saravan in Sistan-Baluchistan, about 1,360 kilometers (850 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran.

In late December, the IRGC said it killed six “armed bandits” in a shootout in the region that also left three of its members dead.

The IRGC is a US-designated terrorist organization.

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