DUBAI Sunni Islamist Baluch militants claimed responsibility for killing an Iranian public prosecutor in revenge for a decision to hang 16 prisoners following a cross-border attack by the group two weeks ago.
Iranian authorities said they had arrested several suspects in connection with Wednesday's killing of prosecutor Musa Nouri and his driver in what media described as "a hail of bullets" in the town of Zabol in southeast Iran, near to where the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan meet.
Jaish ul-Adl militants said they killed Nouri in revenge for the hanging of 16 prisoners on October 26 ordered by judiciary officials in retaliation for an attack in which the radical Sunni group killed 14 Iranian border guards a day before.
"Jaish ul-Adl informs the people of Baluchistan and the Sunni people that its brave warriors and fighters of their military unit killed one of the most criminal figures of the oppressive regime ... in Zabol in an intricate operation," the group said on its website.
"After the execution of 16 innocent young Baluch, its fighters took the decision to eliminate one of the judicial authorities in Baluchistan to avenge their deaths."
Previously little known, Jaish ul-Adl appears to have emerged as a successor to the separatist Sunni Muslim group Jundollah, which carried out a campaign of bombings and assassinations in the mainly Sunni province of Sistan and Baluchistan until its leader was captured and executed in 2010.
Exiled Sunni Muslim opposition groups and parties who claim to represent Iran's ethnic minorities complain of discrimination at the hands of the officially Shi'ite Islamic Republic and the dominant Persian majority.
(Reporting by Jon Hemming, editing by Gareth Jones)