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Report: Bomb Kills 18 Revolutionary Guardsmen in Iran

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 2:48 AM

TEHRAN, Iran -- A bomb explosion killed at least 18 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in southeastern Iran, the state-run news agency reported Wednesday.

A passenger car loaded with explosives stopped in front of their bus near Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

"This blind terrorist operation led to the martyrdom of 18 citizens of Zahedan," IRNA quoted a Guards commander, Qasem Rezaei, as saying.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Rezaei blamed "insurgents and elements of insecurity" for the attack.

Majid Razavi, an Interior Ministry official, said one of those behind the explosion was arrested less than an hour after the attack.

The explosion occurred around 6:30 a.m. in Ahmadabad district on the outskirts of Zahedan, IRNA said.

The passenger car stopped in the middle of the road, forcing the bus loaded with Guards to stop. The car's occupants fled on motorbikes seconds before it exploded, IRNA said.

Zahedan and its surroundings, which lie near Iran's borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, have been the scene of clashes between police and drug smugglers.

Three small explosions injured two people in Zahedan last June but Wednesday's explosion was the deadliest in years.

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