Tue, 23 Apr 2019

Thousands have turned out in Iran for the mass funeral of 27 Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) troops killed in a suicide car bombing near the border with Pakistan on February 13.

Shouts of 'Death to America,' and 'Death to Zionism' could be heard from the crowd gathered on February 16 in the central city of Isfahan, where the elite troops were based.

Speaking to the crowd, IRGC commanding General Mohammad Ali Jafari threatened to retaliate against neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the attack.

Earlier, he claimed without providing evidence that the United States and Israel ordered Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to carry out the attack, which also wounded 12.

'We will get revenge for the blood of our martyrs from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates,' Jafari said in a speech to the crowd. He asked President Hassan Rohani to give the IRGC the authority to retaliate.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group Jaish al-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack in southeastern Iran. The group claims it is seeking better conditions for Iran's ethnic Baluch minority.

Jafari said Iran expected Pakistan to 'punish' the group, which allegedly has taken refuge in the country's southwest.

'If they do not punish them, our retaliatory measures will be carried out,' he said.

The bomb struck a bus traveling on a road between the cities of Khash and Zahedan, a mountainous region along the Pakistani border that is also near Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, India was also pressuring Pakistan to crack down on extremist groups that it says are carrying out cross-border attacks in the disputed Kashmir region.

A Pakistan-based extremist group has claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack in India-controlled Kashmir that left 44 paramilitary police officers dead.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters RFE/RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 25 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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