Iranian border guards. â€“ AFP Photo/File
TEHRAN: Iranian security forces have killed in a fresh clash four members of an extremist rebel group behind an attack that left 14 Iranian border guards dead, a top border guard commander said Tuesday.
â€œWe clashed with Jaish-ul Adl and killed four of them,â€ the Fars news agency quoted brigadier general Hossein Zolfaqari, commander of Iranâ€™s border guards, as saying.
According to the report, the clash took place near the town of Mirjaveh, close to the border with Pakistan in restive southeast Iran, some 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) from Tehran. Zolfaqari did not say when it took place.
Jaish-ul Adl, a rebel group formed last year whose name means Army of Justice in Arabic, has claimed responsibility for the deadly ambush on Friday in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan in the restive southeast.
The attack killed 14 border guards and wounded another seven.
Iran in retaliation said it had executed 16 â€œrebelsâ€ â€“ eight insurgents and eight drug traffickers, all of whom had been on death row, according to Iranian media.
â€œWhatever measure they take against us, our response will be more crushing,â€ Zolfaqari said.
In a press briefing in the afternoon, he said that 20 â€œbanditsâ€ had been killed in 67 clashes near the border since March 2013, the Mehr news agency reported.
The general also warned that Iran â€œreserves the right to pursue the bandits on Pakistani soil,â€ adding that his unit had informed its Pakistani counterparts of this, Mehr added.
Tehran has demanded Islamabad take â€œmeasures to control the borders more seriously,â€ saying the militants had crossed from Pakistan and fled back across the border after the attack.
Iran says it plans to exert more pressure on Pakistan to prevent such attacks.
â€œA deputy interior minister will visit Pakistan to discuss the attack,â€ foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Tuesday during her weekly briefing.
Another militant group, Jundallah, Arabic for Soldiers of God, has also launched deadly attacks on civilians and officials in the southeast.
Iran captured and hanged its leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, in June 2010.
The restive region near the Pakistani border is home to a large community of minority Sunni Muslims, unlike the rest of Shia-dominated Iran.
Drug traffickers and militants have clashed with Iranian forces in the region on several occasions.