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'Police Killers Arrested', IRGC Claims

Commander of IRGC in Khuzestan province, Hassan Shahvarpour.
Commander of IRGC in Khuzestan province, Hassan Shahvarpour.

On Monday, May 15, police and prosecutors in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz reported that unknown armed assailants had attacked police precinct 22 and killed two officers and injured others.

The two officers who lost their lives were identified as Ali Bakhsh-Hassanvand and Azizollah Bahmani.

A day later, on Tuesday, the commander of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Khuzestan province, Hassan Shahvarpour told local media that IRGC intelligence had identified the culprits and arrested them.

According to the Iranian Students' News Agency, ISNA, the commander called the attackers elements "connected with anti-revolutionaries based outside the country". Iranian authorities usually us this designation for armed opposition groups, such as Mojahedin Khalq or armed Kurdish groups.

He did not mention how many attackers were arrested or the details of the operation. But he said that they had distributed an audio recording. He added that security forces have captured "material resources" of the armed group.

Iranian security forces usually announce a quick resolution to such incidents, claiming capture of "terrorists" and arms or explosives, but they rarely produce actual evidence showing the detained individuals or captured materiel.

Three weeks earlier, in southeastern Iran, The Sunni Jeish al-Adl or Army of Justice had attacked and killed three officers and six regular servicemen of Iran's border protection units.

In 2015, three policemen were killed in Hamidiyeh township, 25 kilometers west of Ahvaz, in an attack on a police station. Authorities claimed that the assailants, whom it calls "terrorists", were identified and arrested in 72 hours after the incident and were tried and convicted.

There have been a number of armed attacks and bomb explosions in Iran's oil producing Khuzestan province. In the past, the authorities have accused "foreign governments" of being behind such incidents.

Khuzestan is economically and strategically a very important region of the country, which has an ethnically mixed population, with local Arabs, and other Iranian ethnic groups.