ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A bomb exploded on Wednesday in an Iranian city in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan, on the Persian Gulf, an official told semi-official state media.
“Minutes ago, the sound of an explosion was heard on one of the streets of [the port city of] Chabahar,” Mohammed Hadi Mur’ashi, deputy security chief of Sistan and Baluchistan, told Tasnim.
The incident took place approximately 10 o’clock in the morning when a man driving a pickup truck laden with explosives skidded to a stop in front of a police station in the city just before the truck detonated.
State media reported that 48 people, among them members of the security forces, were injured. Earlier reports in local media quoted officials saying that four had been killed and more injured in the blast, two of them policemen. Other reports suggested there was also an active shooter near the area.
Videos posted on social media showed smoke rising from the location moments after the incident.
In a statement later published on social media, the authenticity of which could not be verified, a militant insurgency group named Ansar al-Furqan took responsibility for the attack. The group is active primarily in Sistan and Baluchistan and has direct ties to Jaish al-Adl, according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, an online "digital intelligence repository of research and analysis covering terrorism and political violence."
Sistan and Baluchistan is a Sunni majority province that borders Pakistan and has long been the site of militant separatist activity.
In late 2010, the Sunni militant group Jundallah carried out a suicide attack near a Shia mosque that resulted in the deaths of 41 people and injured more than 90 others.
In October of this year, an offshoot of Jundulla known as Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the abduction of 12 Iranian security forces members near the border with Pakistan in Sistan and Baluchistan in October.
Editing by John J. Catherine