Iran rebel group Jundallah announces new leader

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London, Mar. 1 (ANI): The Iran rebel group Jundallah has named al-Hajj Mohammed Dhahir Baluch as its new leader.

"The movement is more than its leader. With firm determination and strong will it will continue on the path of jihad till the last drop of blood," the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) quoted the statement posted by the group in Arabic Saturday, as saying.

The statement described the "painful event" of former leader Abdulmalik Rigi's capture on Tuesday, but said all the tribes of Baluchistan had pledged allegiance to the new leader.

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.

Rigi's capture is a coup for authorities in Tehran, who have accused the US and the West of backing rebellious minority factions such as Rigi's Jundallah. The US has denied this charge. (ANI)

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