Iran says it has arrested six people suspected of involvement in last week’s deadly suicide bomb attack on security forces in the southern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said on February 18 that it had arrested three “terrorists” in safe houses in the cities of Saravan and Khash.
Sistan-Baluchistan Province’s public prosecutor Ali Movahedi said that three other people accused of being involved in the February 13 suicide bombing that killed 27 IRGC members were arrested, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.
The IRGC said that 150 kilograms of explosives and 600 kilograms of “explosive materials” as well as weapons and ammunition were confiscated in the raids in Saravan and Khash.
Those arrested had "produced, guided, and supported" the vehicle used in the attack, the Guards said.
In the attack, one of the deadliest on Iranian security forces in years, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into a bus that was transporting IRGC troops.
A militant Sunni Muslim separatist group called Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sistan-Baluchistan is a volatile area near Iran's borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan where militant groups and drug smugglers frequently operate.
The province is populated mainly by Sunni Muslim ethnic Baluchis.
On February 17, Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani said that the bombing was "planned and carried out from inside Pakistan,” as Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani ambassador to protest about the attack.
"We hope the Pakistani government can and wants to prevent such things from happening again," ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters on February 18.
Islamabad has condemned the attack and vowed to cooperate.
Iran has provided Pakistani officials with "information on the terrorist groups' hidden and semi-hidden training centers," Iranian army Chief Of Staff Mohammad Bagheri told the Tasnim news agency.
In a phone call with Pakistani army commanders, Bagheri asked them to "either confront the groups or allow [Iranian] forces to enter."
Iran has repeatedly said that militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan and called on the neighboring country to crack down on them.