Islamic Republic’s Intelligence Ministry announced on Thursday the arrest of 13 “elements” of the Islamic State group who it said had plans to launch “military” operations in Iran’s Western Kurdistan province.
The state financed ILNA quoted the ministry as saying the arrested individuals were operating in two teams “planning to plant bombs and kill people, as well as assassinate Sunni religious leaders” but were identified and arrested. No explanation was provided as why the group would target Sunni clergy.
There has always been tension and incidents in Iranian Kurdistan since the birth of the Islamic Republic with Kurdish nationalist groups, but Tehran has been increasingly mentioning the Islamic State's presence in the province in recent years.
The intelligence ministry added that “some individuals were trained abroad and under the direction of a Daesh military leaders pursued terrorist actions”. It also added that remote controlled bombs and ammunition.
The statement did not provide any further information on those arrested, such as nationality. Islamic Republic security officials have often made announced arrest of “terrorists” particularly in the past three years, most often without presenting any evidence or follow-up news about investigations, arrested suspects or trials.
Recently, terror attacks have increases in Iran, with the most deadly in the southeast on February 13 that killed 27 members of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.