Thursday, 19 February 2009

Reuters: Iran mosque blast causes no casualties

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A sound bomb exploded in a city mosque in a volatile area of eastern Iran near Pakistan on Wednesday, causing minor damage but no casualties, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

The blast in Al-Ghadir mosque in the city of Zahedan came less than a week after Iranian state media said four members of the security forces had been killed in a booby-trap attack set by rebels in the same region.
"The aim of this bombing was to create fear," Fars quoted a local police official, Salah Asgarpour, as saying.He said the device had been placed in the mosque's kitchen area and caused no major damage.

Zahedan is capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, where Iranian security forces often clash with heavily armed drugs smugglers and bandits. The province is home to Shi'ite-dominated Iran's mostly Sunni ethnic Baluchis.
In December, Iran said the Sunni rebel group Jundollah (God's Soldiers) had killed 16 police hostages who were abducted from a checkpoint in Sistan-Baluchestan in June.

Tehran has said Jundollah is part of the Sunni Islamist al Qaeda network and has also accused the United States and Britain, the Islamic Republic's two Western arch foes, of backing the group.

Last April, a blast in a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz killed 14 people and wounded 200. Iran's Intelligence Ministry said U.S. agents had trained and armed those behind the blast.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alison Williams)

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