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Bandits kill 22 in southeast Iran - officials

Written by: Staff
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TEHRAN, Mar 17 (Reuters) Bandits killed 22 people in a region of Iran known for sectarian clashes between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, local officials said today.

The attack was in an impoverished province close to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is home to many of Iran's minority Sunnis and police have often clashed there with drug traffickers from across the nearby borders.

''Armed bandits attacked ordinary people yesterday night. They killed 22,'' said an official from the southeastern city of Zahedan.

Seven other people were injured and one was in critical condition.

Police Chief Esmaeel Ahmadi Moqaddam told state television the aim of such attacks was to create dispute among Sunni and Shi'ite Iranians.

He said security had been stepped up in the region.

Another local official said the bandits had fled to a neighbouring country.

REUTERS DKS KN1717

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