Sunni militant attack on security forces jolts Iran

Sunni militant attack on security forces jolts Iran
Separatist group Jaish ul-Adl attacked three military bases in the south-east of Iran on April 4. / bne IntelliNews
By bne Tehran bureau April 4, 2024

At least three military bases in Iran’s south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan have come under insurgent attacks in the early hours of April 4 security forces, with at least 11 security forces reported killed.

The Jaish ul-Adl militant group has claimed responsibility for the operations which led to the death of at least 15 of their members, according to Iranian officials in the latest of attacks on the country by the groups operating on the border with Pakistan. 

The attacks targeted an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) base in the city of Rask and two others in Chabahar.

The terrorists also entered residential buildings and took two hostages; images are now circulating in Iranian media of injuries, including children. 

Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the IRGC ground force, said the attackers were all equipped with explosive vests, some of which blew up during the operations. He said sanitisation operations were underway and that the situation was under control in both cities.

Iranian mortalities included two members of Iran’s Law Enforcement Command, two border guards and seven members of the IRGC and popular mobilisation groups (Basij).

Jaish ul-Adl, a Sunni separatist militant organisation which was formed in 2012, is designated a terrorist organisation by Iran. The country has repeatedly claimed that Iran's enemies, including Israel, fund the group.

The group operates mainly in south-eastern Iran, which has long borders with Pakistan and has carried out multiple attacks against military personnel in Iran.

Its assault in December 2023 on a police station in the city of Rask, where 11 Iranian security personnel were killed and several others were wounded, was one of the deadliest in years in the region.

In 2023, at least three similar fatal attacks occurred in Sistan-Baluchestan province, which shares a border with Pakistan. These attacks were carried out by Jaish ul-Adl and its affiliated groups.

In January, Iran's confrontation with the group on Pakistani soil caused tensions between Tehran and Islamabad. On January 16, Iran launched missiles and drones on a village in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, claiming it targeted Jaish ul-Adl militants in retaliation for attacks on its military personnel over the past month.

Pakistan condemned the attack as a violation of its sovereignty and retaliated with airstrikes on Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province on January 18, claiming to target Baloch separatist hideouts.

The two sides settled the issue before the end of January and exchanged ambassadors.