A car bomb exploded near a police station in Iran’s southeastern port city of Chabahar, state media reported on Thursday, December 6.
At least two people were killed when the bomb detonated, the provincial deputy governor in charge of security, Mohammad Hadi Marashi, told state news agency IRNA.
Nearly 30 people are being treated in hospital for serious injuries, including women and children who were in the area, according to officials.
Chabahar Governor General Rahmdel Bamri told IRNA that that explosion was caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, the agency reported.
IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said police prevented multiple assailants from entering the building just before 10 a.m. (0630 GMT). The driver of the vehicle, a Toyota van, then detonated the bomb outside the station, Marashi said.
Such attacks are rare in Iran.
Images and video purporting to be taken in the aftermath of the attack show a large smoke plume near the police headquarters.
More photos from a suicide car bomb attack in the southeastern Iranian city of Chabahar. Additional reports indicated that 2 people were martyred a some more were injured in the attack. pic.twitter.com/S0aVibaKAF
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) December 6, 2018
Pakpour denied earlier reports that the Chabahar police chief was among the dead.
In a statement on social media, Baloch insurgent group Ansar al-Furqan claimed responsibility for the attack.
The al-Qaeda-linked group claimed that a “martyrdom operation” destroyed the Chabahar police headquarters.
In June 2017, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said that a Chabahar-based Ansar al-Furqan cell had been dismantled and arms, ammunition and explosives seized.
Three Iranians and two foreign nationals from “neighboring countries” were arrested, and two others were killed in the intelligence operation, the Mehr news agency reported.
Chabahar is the southernmost city in Iran and largest in Sistan and Balochistan province, which has a significant Baloch population. The city is a free trade zone and India has significant investments in the seaport.
In October, 12 Iranian security personnel were abducted in Sistan and Balochistan on the volatile border with Pakistan. Five of the security personnel, which included border guards, militamen and IRGC members, were freed last month after Pakistan secured their release.
The kidnapping was claimed by Jaish al-Adl, an insurgent group founded by members of the Sunni jihadist group Jundallah that has targeted Iranian security personnel throughout the province in recent years.
Chabahar is located about 100 km (60 miles) from the Iran-Pakistan border.