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article imageIran Guards: Pakistani behind suicide attack on troops

By AFP     Feb 19, 2019 in World

The suicide bomber who carried an attack that killed 27 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards last week was a Pakistani national, the elite force said Tuesday.

"The suicide bomber was named Hafez Mohammad-Ali and was from Pakistan," said Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the Guards' ground forces, quoted by the force's Sepah news agency.

The February 13 suicide bombing killed 27 Revolutionary Guards on a bus in the volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which borders Pakistan.

The general said the probe into the attack had made headway after the model of the explosives-packed car that exploded next to the bus had been identified.

"Two days ago the first clue, a woman, was identified and arrested, and through this woman, we reached others," Pakpour said.

Apart from the suicide bomber, one of the suspected accomplices was also Pakistani, he said.

Pakpour said an attack had originally been planned for February 11 to coincide with celebrations for the 40th anniversary of Shiite-dominated Iran's Islamic revolution.

But security forces had been "fully prepared" on that day, he said.

A Sunni jihadist group, Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran says operates mostly out of bases in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iran has accused Pakistan's army and intelligence agency of sheltering the jihadists.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Tuesday his country was cooperating with Iran's investigation into the attack and had handed over Iranian suspects.

"We will cooperate fully with Iran, we have operational contact with Iran," Qureshi told Pakistan's state-run television.

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