Iran Revolutionary Guard general survives attack; bodyguard dead

The bodyguard of Iranian general is killed in a shooting in Sistan-Baluchistan, a province bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Iran military parade
A military parade is held marking Iran's annual army day in the capital Tehran [Iranian Presidency via AFP]

Gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying a general from Iran‘s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) in the country’s southeast with a bodyguard killed in the ensuing gun battle.

Brigadier-General Hossein Almassi, an IRGC commander in Sistan-Baluchistan province, survived the ambush on Saturday without injury, the IRNA state news agency reported.

The report said “criminals” opened fire at a checkpoint in Iran’s southeastern province, a region bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan that has been the site of clashes between separatists from the Baluchi minority, other armed groups, and Iranian forces.

IRNA said security forces arrested those behind the attack near the provincial capital of Zahedan.

The report identified the deceased bodyguard as Mahmoud Absalan, the son of General Parviz Absalan, another IRGC commander in the region.

The poverty-stricken province is also a major smuggling route for Afghan opium and heroin, making it a flashpoint for clashes between criminal gangs and drug traffickers.

The attack came on a night celebrated by many marking the anniversary of the Revolutionary Guard’s establishment after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Saturday’s deadly shooting also came two days after Iran announced the arrest in Sistan-Baluchistan of three people it said were linked to Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

In January, three Revolutionary Guard members were among nine people killed in a clash with “armed criminals” in the same region, a month after troops killed a gunman who attacked the IRGC’s rural intelligence office.

In 2019, a suicide bomber killed 27 Revolutionary Guard members in Sistan-Baluchistan in one of the boldest attacks on Iran’s most powerful military institution.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies