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Iran warns Pakistan to penalize militant group over attack

By Sommer Brokaw
Iran warns Pakistan to penalize militant group over attack
A photo from Iran's state-run FARS news agency shows the site of Wednesday's suicide bus bombing, which killed 27 Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members and injured 13 others. Since then, the IRGC chief has warned that Iran would retaliate against Jaish ul-adl itself if Pakistan doesn't take action. Photo courtesy of FARS

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief warned Pakistan on Saturday to penalize the Jaish ul-Adl militant group for a suicide car bomb that killed 27 of its elite members earlier this week.

IRGC Commander in Chief Mohammed Ali Jafari said that if Islamabad failed to go after the jihadist militant group, which took responsibility for the bombing Wednesday, Iran would take its own "revenge."

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"If Pakistan fails to punish them in the near future, Iran will do so based on international law and will retaliate against the terrorists," Jafari told Iranian media.

A day earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters that unless Pakistan cracked down on the militant group, Iran would take action it "deems appropriate."

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The suicide car bomber hit a bus carrying IRGC personnel between the cities of Zahedan and Khash near the border with Pakistan.

The attack killed 27 IRGC members and injured 13.

Jaish ul-Adl was formed in 2012 by members of the Pakistan-based Jundallah, a separate militant group that Iranian intelligence forces dismantled in 2010.

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Jafari also criticized Pakistan for providing shelter to "dangerous elements."

"The Pakistani government, which has sheltered these anti-revolutionary and dangerous elements for Islam and knows where their hideouts are ... should be held accountable for the crime that has been committed," Jafari said.

His statement was sharper tone than an earlier reaction in which he called on the "brotherly state of Pakistan" to tighten security on the border it shares with Iran.

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The IRGC blamed the United States for the attack, noting it occurred the same week Iran was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that deposed the U.S.-backed shah.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's determination will be strengthened by the blood of these martyrs," Jafari added Saturday. "From now on, the patience that the [Iranian] establishment used to exercise in the face of such conspiracies and reactionary governments of the region, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are acting at the behest of the U.S. and the Zionist regime, will be different."

In November, Iranian Interior Minister Abdelreza Rhamani-Fazli similarly suggested that Iranian forces could come after "terrorists" in Pakistani territory if the country "fails to do its part." Jaish al-Adl abducted 12 Iranian security personnel near Zahedan along the Iran-Pakistan border a month earlier.

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