Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Iran Sunni rebels video shows killing of officer-TV

An Iranian Sunni rebel group video broadcast on Arab satellite television on Tuesday showed the killing by firing squad of a man identified as an Iranian Revolutionary Guard officer.

The Jundollah (God's Soldiers) video broadcast by Al Arabiya television showed militants kill the man. They displayed his identification card bearing the name Zahed Shaykhi.

The video also showed the Baluchi group's leader Abdolmalek Rigi despite official media reports that Iranian forces had killed him.

"These are falsehoods aimed at playing with the emotions of people," a militant reading a statement said.

Iranian officials have said Rigi is the leader of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in the Islamic Republic.

Rigi appeared on the tape speaking to the Iranian officer who sat nearby with a gunman pointing his rifle at his head and another standing by. The two militants later fired rounds at the officer who was sitting on the ground wearing white robes.

The group has kidnapped Iranian soldiers in the past to try to force the release of detained members. READ MORE

In March, the group claimed responsibility for an attack that killed 22 people in a remote region in southeastern Iran and said it had taken seven hostages.

The attack was in an impoverished area on the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, the scene of sporadic unrest among Iran's Baluchi minority, most of them Sunni Muslims. There are frequent police clashes with armed drug smugglers in the region.

Some 90 percent of Iran's 69 million people are Shi'ite and the Sunni minority sometimes complains of discrimination.

In July, the rebel group said it had beheaded an Iranian security agent.

Iran also blames Britain for unrest in its restive and mainly Arab southwestern oil province of Khuzestan, across the border from southern Iraq where British troops are stationed. Britain denies supporting the ethnic Arab rebels.