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Iran's Intelligence Ministry arrests three terrorist elements in Sunni cleric’s murder case

The national flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran (L) and the logo of Iran's Intelligence Ministry

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has identified and arrested three of the main terrorist elements behind the murder of Sunni cleric Molavi Abdulvahed Rigi in the country’s southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

The Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday that the apprehension took place following “round-the-clock efforts and a series of intelligence measures and observations” in Sistan and Baluchestan, and with the “operational cooperation of the law enforcement command” in the province.

“These terrorist elements were planning to abscond from the country after the assassination of the martyr when they were arrested” by the intelligence forces, the statement noted.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said further information regarding the case will subsequently be released.

The provincial officials confirmed on Friday that Molavi Abdulvahed Rigi had been kidnapped and murdered by unknown individuals as the police investigated the case.

The Sunni cleric was the Friday prayers leader of Imam Hussein Mosque in Khash, in the southeastern province. He was also a seminary teacher.

Mehdi Shamsabadi, the province’s prosecutor, said the cleric was present at his mosque on Thursday, but unknown individuals called him from the rear door, making him sit in a car that had no license plate.

Shamsabadi said local forces had been mobilized to find the whereabouts of the cleric since Thursday, but his dead body was found on the roadside in Khash County. The cleric was hit by three bullets, said the prosecutor, adding the bullets came out of his head.

The official also said the police are investigating the case to detect and arrest the perpetrators.

Sistan and Baluchestan Province has been among the regions affected by foreign-backed riots that erupted after 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini died in hospital on September 16, three days after she collapsed at a police station. An investigation has attributed Amini’s death to her medical condition, rather than alleged beatings by the police.

The violent riots, meanwhile, have claimed the lives of dozens of people and members of security forces, while also allowing terrorist attacks across the country. In the last three months, the terrorists have set fire to public property and tortured several members of Basij and security forces to death while also killing civilians.

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