x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Iran captures Sunni militant group leader

Iran's security forces have captured the top leader of an armed Sunni group.

Iran's security forces have captured the top leader of an armed Sunni group whose insurgency in the southeast has destabilised the border region with Pakistan. A state TV report quoted the interior minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying that the insurgency leader Abdulmalik Rigi was arrested abroad, then taken to Iran. Mr Najjar did not say where Rigi was apprehended. But a lawmaker Mohammad Dehghan told the official IRNA news agency that Rigi was flying from Pakistan to an unidentified Arab country when his plane was ordered to land inside Iran. Mr Dehghan gave no details. Rigi's Jundallah group has claimed responsibility for bombing attacks that have killed dozens in recent years, including five senior commanders of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard in October.

There was no immediate reaction from Jundallah to the state report on Rigi's capture. Mohammad Azad, the governor of Sistan-Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran, told state TV that other militants who were with Rigi were also taken into custody and transferred to Iran. Mr Azad did not elaborate. *AP