QUETTA/TEHRAN: Security officials on Saturday said they had rescued 11 kidnapped foreigners - eight Iranians, two Tunisians and one Yemeni national - in Turbat near the Iranian border.
“11 foreigners were rescued in a raid in a neighbourhood of Turbat town,” a security official told AFP.
The raid had been conducted in an attempt to rescue five Iranian border guards who were kidnapped on February 6 from Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province, officials said. “Five Iranian soldiers who were abducted in early February by extremists and taken across the border into Pakistan have been freed,” Iranian army’s deputy chief of staff confirmed.
Initially, the security officials had said that those freed did not include the Iranian border guards. “The freed hostages are not thought to be the guards but believed to be connected to drug cartels operating in the province and to have been held hostage by them,” the officials had said.
An insurgent group calling itself Jaish-ul Adl, or Army of Justice, had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The group posted pictures on its Facebook page it said were of the soldiers, handcuffed and being held in an unknown location.
Diplomatic ties between Iran and Pakistan touched a fresh low last week over fate of the kidnapped guards, when Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli threatened Pakistan that Tehran may send forces into Pakistan to free them.
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