A senior Iranian military commander has disclosed that a suicide bomber and two others involved in a recent deadly attack that killed 27 Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) travelling in a bus to southeastern Iran have been identified as Pakistani nationals, Press TV reported.
“The suicide bomber and two elements of the terrorist team targeting IRGC forces were Pakistanis,” Commander of the IRGC’s Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said on Tuesday on the sidelines of of a ceremony commemorating the martyrs, identifying the bomber as Hafiz Mohammad Ali, according to the report.
The personnel had been travelling between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, in Sistan and Baluchestan Province on Wednesday, when their bus was targeted in a suicide car bomb attack. ‘Takfiri’ group Jaish ul-Adl outfit had claimed responsibility for the bombing which had left 13 injured.
According to Tehran, the group operates mostly out of bases in Pakistan, and has repeatedly blamed its neighbour for sheltering individuals connected with attacks in the countries border areas.
After the incident, the wreckage of the car used to carry out the attack had been delivered to the police for futher investigation, the report said.
According to him, once the vehicle’s registration was identified, members of the Quds Force launched an operation to arrest the terrorists and dismantle their support team.
He said that three other members were from Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan, two of whom were in detention and the third one was still at large.
The IRGC general said the terrorist team was well equipped and had been working on massive attack schemes inside Iran, according to the report.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi on Tuesday said that a harsh response will be delivered to the perpetrators, the report quoted him as having said.
He also said that Iran faced threats from “a number of hostile intelligence services”.
“[They] have worked together to challenge the security of the Islamic Republic,” Alavi said.
His comments arrive after the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last week had said that “obvious” links existed between the perpetrators of the attack “and the spy agencies of certain regional and extra-regional countries”.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday his country was cooperating with Iran’s investigation into the attack and had handed over Iranian suspects, Al-Jazeera reported.
“We will cooperate fully with Iran, we have operational contact with Iran,” Qureshi told Pakistan’s state-run television.
(With inputs from Press TV and Al Jazeera)