Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Police, insurgents clash in southern Iran after bombing

AP , TEHRAN

Police and insurgents clashed after a bombing in southeastern Iran near the site where an explosion killed 11 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards this week, Iranian news agencies reported.

"Minutes ago, the sound of a bomb explosion was heard in one of Zahedan's streets," the state-run news agency IRNA said late on Friday.

The semiofficial Fars news agency said clashes broke out between Iranian police and armed insurgents after the explosion.

SOUND BOMB

Fars quoted the governor of Zahedan, Hasan Ali Nouri, as saying the blast was a "sound bomb explosion" -- a device that creates a loud boom but that usually does not cause casualties.

Nouri said there was gunfire heard but that it was late at night and that police had cordoned off the area.

On Wednesday, a car bomb blew up a bus carrying Revolutionary Guards, killing 11, in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, which sits on the border with Pakistan.

A Sunni Muslim militant group called Jundallah, or God's Brigade, which has been blamed for past attacks on Iranian troops, has claimed responsibility for the Wednesday bombing.

Fars said the Friday explosion was at a school in Zahedan.

"The insurgents began shooting at people after the explosion. Clashes are continuing between police and the armed insurgents. Police have cordoned off the area," the Fars agency said.

SUSPECT'S CLAIM

IRNA quoted an unnamed "responsible official" late on Friday as saying that one of those arrested on charges of involvement in Wednesday's bombing had confessed that the attacks were part of alleged US plans to provoke ethnic and religious violence in Iran.

Friday's blast came just hours after the funeral of the 11 Revolutionary Guardsmen in the capital.

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