Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Say Three Killed in Clashes With IS, 16 IS Suspects Held

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says three of its soldiers have been killed and 16 Islamic State (IS) militants captured in clashes in southwestern Fars Province, RFERL reports.

The IRGC’s Sepahnews website on January 27 quoted General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the IRGC land forces, as saying that “several” members of the extremist group were killed in the fighting. The general said at least two of the militants had fled but were surrounded by IRGC forces.

“The terrorists wanted to carry out attacks on border towns and in the center of the country,” he said.

The website said the IS fighters had entered the country through Iran’s western border with Iraq. Iran is one of the main international backers of the Syrian regime and has sent military advisers and thousands of “volunteers” to battle IS in both Syria and Iraq.

The Sunni-led IS militant group has often clashed with Shi’ite Iran’s security forces. IS claimed responsibility for the deadly twin June 7 attacks on the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic republic that left at least 17 dead. The attackers in the June assault were all Iranian Kurds from the Kurdish region of western Iran near the Iraqi border.

Some 10 days later, the IRGC said it launched several missiles from Iran into eastern Syria targeting IS fighters in retaliation for the attacks. Iran has since tracked down and killed several suspected militants, and over the past few months, authorities have announced the arrest of dozens of IS suspects in several regions.

Just on January 24, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents announced that they had nipped in the bud a Saudi-operated scheme to carry out bombing attacks in the Islamic Republic.

According to an announcement by the ministry, the agents found and confiscated 23 rigged bombs of the remote-operated kind which “had been brought to the country according to plans by Saudi Arabian intelligence services to cause harassment and insecurity in eastern provinces.”

The terror group’s two biggest strongholds, Mosul in Iraq and its de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria fell in July and October respectively to Iraqi and Syrian forces.

Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government in its battle against IS, told NBC News on January 20 that while the number of active fighters on the battlefield is probably in the range of 1,000 to 1,500, the actual number of Daesh loyalists in Iraq and Syria is closer to 10,000.

According to Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi, the two major airports of Tehran have regained the normal status to serve landing and departing airplanes.

“The IRGC, intelligence ministry, and border guards have so far been successful in countering ISIL terrorists,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the Chairman of Iran’s Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, on Sunday.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the open meeting of the Iranian parliament saying that “Trump’s sterile attempts are like a wild goose chase.” Recounting that he has been very recently back from Brussels where he met with members of the European Parliament,  Boroujerdi asserted that even European MEPs do not have a positive view of Trump’s U.S.

“There were serious criticisms of U.S. internal and foreign policies during Trump’s administration. Considering Trump’s affiliation to the Zionist regime U.S. is after framing a negative picture of the Islamic Republic of Iran. And this is the joint objective of U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israeli regime. The U.S. plan to disintegrate Syria is a doomed attempt and we strongly defend the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq, as it was the top priority of the enemies in the last year to break up Iraq and Syria but they failed,” said the MP.

According to Boroujerdi,  U.S. proved with its practice in the region that it is still supporting the policy of backing terrorists, creating instability, and disintegrating the countries of the Middle East and God willingly these objectives of U.S. are doomed to failure.

“In recent years, the terrorists did their best to infiltrate in our country. They trained terror cells and dispatched them to our borders and the IS is mainly focused on this agenda but the IRGC in numerous cases have encountered them in the borders. So far, the IRGC personnel, intelligence ministry agents, and border guards have succeeded in fighting terrorists trying to enter Iran and bearing in mind the current crises in the region it will still be a challenge for Iran,” he commented on IRGC’s measures in countering terror plots against Iran.