Sat, 30 Sep 2023

At least 20 people have been killed in clashes between Iranian security forces and armed separatists in the southeast of the country, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has said.

Four members of the IRGC, including a top officer, were among those reported killed in the attack on September 30 in the city of Zahedan, the group said in a statement.

The IRGC said Colonel Hamid Reza Hashemi, an intelligence officer in the Iranian Army's ideological arm, 'succumbed to injuries he sustained during clashes with the terrorists.'

At least 32 IRGC members were injured in the fighting, the local governor was quoted by state media as saying.

State media claimed the assailants hid among worshippers near a mosque in Zahedan and attacked a nearby police station.

State media did not identify the separatist group allegedly involved in the attack. The region borders Afghanistan and Pakistan and has seen attacks on security forces by ethnic Baluchi separatists.

It was not immediately clear if the attack was related to anti-government protests erupting throughout the country sparked by the death in custody a 22-year-old woman who was detained in Tehran by the morality police for allegedly wearing her headscarf too loosely.

SEE ALSO: Global Solidarity Rallies Held As Amini Protests Continue In Iran

Officials have said she died of a heart attack, but her relatives and some rights groups have rejected that assertion saying she was in perfect health and that they believe she was beaten while being detained.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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