Iran rebel group Jundallah announces new leader
Iran rebel group Jundallah – a Sunni organization that Shiite-dominated Iran says is backed by the US – announced its choice of a new leader after the other commander was captured last week.
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Iran has touted the capture as a major victory against Jundallah, a Sunni group that it claims is backed by the US. The move to name a new leader comes after Iran broadcast a supposed confession from the captured commander in which he says the group received US support.
"The movement is more than its leader," said the statement posted in Arabic Saturday. "With firm determination and strong will it will continue on the path of jihad till the last drop of blood."
An earlier version of the statement appeared on the site in Farsi Friday.
'Soldiers of God'
Jundallah, which means “Soldiers of God,” is a militant Sunni group that claims to fight for the rights of the Sunni and ethnic Baluchi minority in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province. Iran accuses the US of backing the group, and says it often launches attacks from across the border in Pakistan. The group has taken responsibility for a string of attacks in recent years that have killed both Iranian troops and civilians, including an attack last year that killed five senior commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The Christian Science Monitor reported last week that Iran claimed previous leader Abdolmalek Rigi had been on a US military base in Afghanistan less than 24 hours before his capture, when Iran forced a plane he was traveling on to land in Iran during a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan. The US has called such accusations completely false.