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Iran says ‘bandits’ killed 4 IRGC troops near Pakistan border

State TV says clash between Revolutionary Guard Corps members and armed men occurred in Gounic district of Sistan and Baluchistan province

lllustrative: A group of Iranian border guards march at the eastern border of Iran shared with Pakistan and Afghanistan near Zabol, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, on July 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
lllustrative: A group of Iranian border guards march at the eastern border of Iran shared with Pakistan and Afghanistan near Zabol, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, on July 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

TEHRAN, Iran — Armed bandits killed four members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard in fighting in a southern province, the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.

The report said the clash between Guard members and the bandits happened on Friday night in the Gounic district of Sistan and Baluchistan province. The site of the fighting is some 1,250 kilometers (775 miles) southeast of the capital Tehran.

Sistan-Baluchistan straddles the border with Pakistan and has a large, mainly Sunni ethnic Baluch population.

The province has been the scene of occasional clashes between Baluch militants and Iranian forces. Security forces have also fought with drug traffickers in the province, which is on a major smuggling route for Afghan opium and heroin.

A Sunni separatist group affiliated with al-Qaeda and known as Jeish al-Adl, or Army of Justice, operates in the area.

In April, Guard members shot dead three militants and dismantled their cell in the province.

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