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Iran Hangs 'Rebels' After Border Guard Attack

Iran has hanged 16 "rebels" after an attack that killed 14 border guards and wounded five others near the border with Pakistan.

Mohammad Marizeh, the attorney general in Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province where the attack happened late on October 25, said the 16 rebels were hanged on October 26 at the Zahedan prison in response to the death of the border guards.

"We warned the rebel groups that any attack targeting civilians or members of the security force would not go unanswered," Marizeh said.

He did not say if -- or how -- any of those hanged were connected to the attack on the border guards.

Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi said the guards were killed in an ambush and added that three border guards were captured, not killed as previously reported, and taken across the border into Pakistan.

Iran's state news agency IRNA earlier reported that the group had crossed into Iran from Pakistan.

The October 25 fighting happened in a mountainous area of the Saravan region used by both drug traffickers and armed rebels.

Iranian parliamentary deputy Hedayatollah Mirmoradzehi, who represents Saravan in parliament, said the fighting took place near a border guard station.

Iranian authorities reportedly rushed extra troops into the area to repel the attack and hunt down those responsible.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iranian officials have not yet commented on who they believe ambushed the border guards, except for saying they were Iranians who were "members of a hostile group."

In recent years the Sunni militant group Jundallah have launched attacks in Sistan-Baluchistan, an area inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslims. Thousands of people have been killed in attacks in the area over the last 30 years.

Iran's Fars news agency reported the armed attackers were from Jaish ul Adl, another Sunni militant group.

Based on reporting by Fars, Tasnim, AFP, and AP
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