Two bombs explode in southeast Iran, police officers wounded

LONDON (Reuters) - Two bombs exploded on Tuesday in front of a police station in the city of Zahedan in southeastern Iran, local officials told state media, causing minor injuries to three police officers.

Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group, claimed responsibility for the explosions. The group said it had targeted a police station with “two strong bombs”, damaging a police car and motorcycle.

State news agency IRNA quoted the head of Sistan-Baluchestan police Mohammad Qanbari as saying the first explosion was caused by a percussion grenade. He said a “suspicious package” was also found on the street and exploded before being neutralized by a bomb disposal unit, injuring three police officers.

Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province where Iranian security forces often clash with armed drugs smugglers and Sunni militants. The province is home to mostly Sunni ethnic Baluchis, a minority in predominantly Shi’ite Iran.

In October, Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for kidnapping 10 Iranian security personnel including Revolutionary Guards in Sistan-Baluchestan. Some are still being held.

The group has said in the past that its attacks were retaliation for what it called the Iranian state’s oppression of Sunnis in Sistan-Baluchestan.

In September, the Revolutionary Guards killed four Sunni militants at a border crossing with Pakistan, including the second-in-command of Jaish al-Adl.

Shi’ite Iran has accused its regional Sunni rival Saudi Arabia of funding separatist groups on its territory. Riyadh has denied any involvement in Iranian internal affairs.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Janet Lawrence