DUBAI (Reuters) – At least three people were killed and 24 others were injured in a suicide car bomb attack on the police headquarters in Iran’s southeastern port city of Chabahar on Thursday, Iranian state media reported.
General view of damages after a bomb inside a car exploded outside a police station in Chabahar, Iran December 6, 2018. Tasnim News Agency /Handout via REUTERS
Television also reported shooting in the area, located in the region of Sistan-Baluchestan, which is home to a Sunni Muslim minority in the largely Shi’ite country and has long been plagued by violence from both drug smugglers and separatists.
“Three people were killed and some others were injured,” Chabahar’s acting governor Rahmdel Bameria told state television. “The suicide attacker set off the explosion after stopping at police headquarters in Chabahar.”
Mohammad Hadi Marashi, deputy governor for security affairs, told state television that two police officers had been killed.
The state news agency IRNA said some 24 people had been wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Videos posted on Twitter, purportedly from Chabahar, showed thick smoke rising from the area. Reuters could not verify their authenticity.
In October, the separatist Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) group kidnapped 12 Iranian border guards in the remote province, five of whom have since been released.
The Sunni militant group has carried out several attacks on Iranian security forces in Sistan-Baluchestan in the past, including an attack in 2017 that killed 10 border guards.
In 2010, two suicide bombers killed at least 28 people, including some of the elite Revolutionary Guards, at a Shi’ite mosque in southeast Iran, an attack that Iranian leaders said was backed by the United States.
The attack was claimed by a Sunni separatist group called Jundullah (Soldiers of God).
Tehran accuses its Sunni-led regional rival Saudi Arabia and the United States of funding most of these groups, a charge that Riyadh and Washington deny.
Iran also says that militant groups are sheltering across the border in Pakistan and has threatened to attack their bases if Islamabad does not confront them.
Chabahar is a free trade zone and the site of an Indian-backed port complex being developed as part of a new transportation corridor for landlocked Afghanistan.
Additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Kevin Liffey