DUBAI (Reuters) – Gunmen opened fire on a car carrying a senior Revolutionary Guards commander in restive southeastern Iran early on Saturday, killing a bodyguard, Iranian state media reported.
Brigadier General Hossein Almassi, a Guards commander in Sistan-Baluchistan province, was unhurt after the attack and the attackers were arrested, the official news agency IRNA reported.
Mahmoud Absalan, the bodyguard who was killed in the attack that occurred near a checkpoint in the provincial capital Zahedan, was the son of a senior Guards commander in the region, IRNA said.
The attack came on a night celebrated by many devout Iranians as Islam’s holiest, which this year coincided with events marking the anniversary of the Revolutionary Guards’ establishment after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The predominantly Sunni Muslim Sistan-Baluchistan province near the Pakistani and Afghan borders has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and Sunni Islamist militants fighting the country’s Shi’ite authorities.
Many of Iran’s Sunnis complain of discrimination, a charge denied by the state.
In 2009, a suicide bomber killed six senior Revolutionary Guards commanders and more than 29 other people in Sistan-Baluchistan, in one of the boldest attacks on Iran’s most powerful military institutions.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Sam Holmes)