Sunni rebel group kills two Iranian policemen - TV

 

http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=220551

 

DUBAI, June 20 (Reuters) - A Sunni Muslim rebel group said on Friday it had killed two Iranian policemen and threatened to kill 14 others it kidnapped last week in a volatile area near the border with Pakistan.

 

Al Arabiya television showed a video of two blindfolded men kneeling on the ground but said it would not broadcast the full footage of the killings to avoid disturbing viewers.

 

The rebel group, Jundollah, had threatened on Thursday to kill 16 policemen it was holding unless Tehran met its demands, including the release of jailed comrades, the Arab network said.

 

A Jundollah spokesman identified as Abdul-Raouf told the satellite channel by telephone that the group had decided to kill the men after the Iranian government executed two Sunni Muslims in its custody.

 

"If the government does not free 200 detainees of Jundollah in Zahadan, we will execute the 14 others," he said, referring to the city of Zahadan near the Pakistani border.

 

"There are also some Sunni clerics, five or six, in Iranian jails and we have called on the Iranian government and call on it again to release them."

 

Jundollah, which predominantly Shi'ite Iran has linked to al Qaeda, set a deadline of June 27 for its demands to be met.

 

Iran said last weekend bandits kidnapped 16 policemen and took them to nearby Pakistan after attacking a police station in the volatile province of Sistan-Baluchestan, notorious for frequent clashes with drug smugglers and home to Iran's mostly Sunni Muslim ethnic Baluchis.

 

Last August, Iran blamed the group for taking hostage 30 people in the province. Those hostages, taken by their captors to Pakistan, were freed by Pakistani forces.

 

In 2007, Jundollah claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus carrying Iranian Revolutionary Guards that killed 11 people.

 

Iranian officials have said that the group's leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, was a leader of al Qaeda's network in Iran.

 

Iran has often accused Washington and London of trying to destabilise the country by supporting rebels, mainly in sensitive border areas.

 

Iran's allegations coincide with U.S. accusations of Iranian support for militias in neighbouring Iraq that have fought U.S. and U.S.- backed government forces, charges Tehran denies. (Reporting by Lin Noueihed, Editing by Mark Trevelyan)