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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

DUBAI:  Two police officers and four attackers were killed when gunmen and suicide bombers stormed a police station in Iran's restive southeast on Saturday, Iranian state television reported.

The attack occurred in Zahedan, capital of Sistan-Balochistan province, scene of some of the bloodiest protests during a wave of nationwide unrest last year triggered by the death of a young Kurdish woman in the custody of the morality police.

State television said "all four terrorists" and two policemen had died in the raid. A police spokesman said three attackers had died, according to different media reports.

The report quoted Alireza Marhamati, the province's deputy governor, as saying the militants were trying to gain access to the police station and were equipped with grenades, but did not elaborate further.

Sistan-Balochistan, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, is one of Iran's poorest provinces and a major drug trafficking route.

Zahedan has been the scene of weekly protests since the killing of protesters on September 30, 2022, even as unrest has subsided in most other parts of the country.

Amnesty International has said security forces killed at least 66 people in the crackdown on protesters. Authorities sacked Zahedan's police commander and a police station chief afterwards.

Authorities blamed the start of the shooting on September 30 on Jaish Al Adl, or Army of Justice, a Baloch militant group which they say operates from safe havens in Pakistan. Neither Jaish Al Adl nor any other group claimed a role.