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Jundallah leader Rigi in Iranian custody

TEHRAN, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Iranian authorities took custody of Jundallah ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi as he prepared to launch a new round of attacks, officials said Tuesday.

Officials said Rigi was arrested on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan and was taken into Iranian custody Tuesday, Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.

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Jundallah claimed responsibility for an Oct. 19 bombing at a conference in southeastern Iran attended by Shiite and Sunni leaders. The attack left scores dead, including several senior commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Jundallah in early February said it was preparing for a fresh round of assaults on Iran after talks with government officials stalled. The group, based in Pakistan, said it would call on minority ethnic communities to join their struggle against Tehran.

Iran sounded the alarm in January, saying it was worried "some elements" based in foreign countries were attempting to destabilize Iran from its eastern border with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Iran in October announced the arrest of Abdul Hamid Rigi, the brother of the Jundallah leader.

Abdul Hamid told Press TV that an intermediary, Amanollah Khan, was asked by U.S. officials to introduce them to the insurgent leader.

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The U.S. State Department does not include Jundallah on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. When asked about the situation, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said following the October arrest that it was "something we're looking at."

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