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Features

Jaish ul-Adl Intensifies Attacks Against Iranian Security Forces

April 5, 2024
Ehsan Mehrabi
6 min read
Over the past six months, the Jaish ul-Adl militant group has launched at least two significant attacks against Iranian law enforcement and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
Over the past six months, the Jaish ul-Adl militant group has launched at least two significant attacks against Iranian law enforcement and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
Following internal disputes within Jaish ul-Adl, Abdul Rauf Righi established another faction named Jaysh al-Nasr
Following internal disputes within Jaish ul-Adl, Abdul Rauf Righi established another faction named Jaysh al-Nasr
The assassination of Nur-Ali Shushtari stands out as a pivotal event orchestrated by the Jundallah group, potentially intensifying government efforts to eliminate or apprehend Abdolmalek Rigi
The assassination of Nur-Ali Shushtari stands out as a pivotal event orchestrated by the Jundallah group, potentially intensifying government efforts to eliminate or apprehend Abdolmalek Rigi
Shushtari served as the commander of the Quds base concurrently with his role in the IRGC ground forces
Shushtari served as the commander of the Quds base concurrently with his role in the IRGC ground forces
On February 23, 2010, the Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of Abdulmalik Rigi, although conflicting narratives surround the circumstances of his capture, or rather, his abduction
On February 23, 2010, the Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of Abdulmalik Rigi, although conflicting narratives surround the circumstances of his capture, or rather, his abduction
In 2014, Ali Younisi, the Minister of Intelligence in the Mohammad Khatami government, expressed regret over the haste in executing Rigi's sentence
In 2014, Ali Younisi, the Minister of Intelligence in the Mohammad Khatami government, expressed regret over the haste in executing Rigi's sentence

Over the past six months, the Jaish ul-Adl militant group has launched at least two significant attacks against Iranian law enforcement and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Thursday's attack marked a significant escalation for Jaish al-Adl. 

Their forces targeted multiple locations in Chabahar city, including the city IRGC and naval headquarters, the Intelligence Department, and the 11th Police Station. 

They also struck the Rask district and the second-most important IRGC base in Rask, located at the Parud crossroads. 

On December 14, 2023, the group attacked the IRGC headquarters in Rask, killing 11 personnel and injuring eight others.

This coordinated assault represents the group's most extensive operation in recent years and bears similarities to the attacks carried out by the Jundallah group in the 2000s.

Attack on Tasooki 

Although the Jundallah group was formed in the early 2000s, with some reports suggesting as early as 2003, its most intense period of attacks occurred from 2005 onwards. 

An intriguing coincidence during this period was the prominent presence of security officials within Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Ministry of Interior, including Ahmadinejad himself, Mustafa Pour Mohammadi, then Minister of Interior, and Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, his security deputy.

In March 2006, individuals affiliated with the Jundallah group, disguised as police officers, intercepted vehicles transporting local officials along the road from Zahedan to Zabul in Sistan and Baluchistan province. 

This ambush resulted in the deaths of 22 people, with six others sustaining injuries and at least eight individuals being taken hostage, some of whom were subsequently released.

On February 14, 2007, a bus carrying guardsmen was targeted in a bombing orchestrated by the Jundallah group on Zahedan's Sarallah Blvd.

Claiming responsibility for the attack, the group cited retaliation for the execution of its members.

On June 18, 2008, the Jundallah group launched an assault on a border post in Saravan, seizing 16 police officers and transporting them to an undisclosed location in Pakistan. 

Following the hostage-taking, Jundallah demanded the release of 200 associates held in Iranian prisons, including Abdulhamid Rigi, the brother of Abdolmalek - the group's leader - or threatened to execute all the hostages.

On May 28, 2009, a bombing at the Ali Ibn Abi Talib mosque in Zahedan resulted in the loss of at least 15 lives.

High-Ranking Officer of the IRGC Ground Forces Slain by Militant Group

The assassination of Nur-Ali Shushtari stands out as a pivotal event orchestrated by the Jundallah group, potentially intensifying government efforts to eliminate or apprehend Abdolmalek Rigi.

Shushtari served as the commander of the Quds base concurrently with his role in the IRGC ground forces. 

On October 18, 2009, he fell victim to an explosion orchestrated by the Jundallah group during a gathering of tribal leaders and elders in the Pishin area, alongside Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh, the commander of the Sistan and Baluchistan Army at the time.

On February 23, 2010, the Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of Abdulmalik Rigi, although conflicting narratives surround the circumstances of his capture, or rather, his abduction. 

Rigi was executed shortly after his arrest. 

In 2014, Ali Younisi, the Minister of Intelligence in the Mohammad Khatami government, expressed regret over the haste in executing Rigi's sentence.

A year following Rigi's execution, Mark Perry, an American foreign policy analyst, alleged that Mossad agents had recruited members of the Jundallah group by posing as CIA operatives.

Foreign Policy magazine further asserted Mossad's engagement with Jundallah group officials.

This assertion echoed in various German documentaries on Mossad operations, although a former Mossad official refuted these claims in these documentaries.

Continued Operations Following Rigi's Execution

Despite the arrest and subsequent execution of Rigi, Jundallah persisted with its operations.

Approximately a month after Rigi's death, on July 15, 2010, an explosion ripped through Zahedan Mosque during the Shabaniyah holidays, claiming the lives of 26 individuals and injuring 300 others.

In October 2019, Jundallah declared the abduction of 29-year-old Amir Hossein Shirani, an employee of the Atomic Energy Organization, from Isfahan, spiriting him away to the Baluchistan mountains. 

Although officials of the Islamic Republic acknowledged the kidnapping of an individual fitting Shirani's description, they denied any recent affiliation with the Atomic Energy Organization.

Among the revelations in Abdulmalek Rigi's televised confessions was a plot to assassinate Ahmadinejad. 

In 2012, during Ahmadinejad's 100th provincial visit, the Ministry of Intelligence disclosed intelligence regarding the "Chah Jamal" operation, devised by the Jundallah group, aimed at assassinating the then-president during one of his provincial tours.

Jundallah and Its Affiliates

In the 2010s, the Jaish ul-Adl militant group was formed, initially with Abdul Rauf Rigi, brother of Abdulmalik, serving as its spokesperson. 

Later, Abdul Rahim Molazadeh, using the alias Salahuddin Farooqi, assumed leadership of the group in 2012.

Following internal disputes within Jaish ul-Adl, Abdul Rauf Righi established another faction named Jaysh al-Nasr.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Abdul Raouf Rigi have been subject to various narratives, with some attributing it to internal conflicts. 

However, Jaish ul-Adl issued a statement asserting Abdul Malik Rigi's brother as a "martyr," emphasizing the Islamic Republic's involvement in his death. 

The group underscored that internal disagreements were insufficient grounds for Abdul Rauf's killing.

Jaish ul-Adl claimed responsibility for the deaths of 14 Iranian border guards and the injury of seven others in Saravan in November 2013. 

This incident led to the execution of 16 individuals in Zahedan.

In a separate incident on December 17 of the same year, three members of the IRGC died in Saravan due to a collision with an explosive device.

Jaish ul-Adl declared that on November 26, 2013, they shot down a police force helicopter in Saravan.

The group's most contentious action that year was the abduction of five Iranian border guards and the subsequent execution of Sergeant Jamshid Danaifar.

Abdul Rauf Rigi had told IranWire that the execution of Danaifar was ordered by a jurisprudential assembly. 

Escalating Violence: Series of Attacks

On April 6, 2017, militants from the Jaish ul-Adl group killed eight Iranian border guards in the Nagor region.

On June 12, 2016, the spokesperson of the police reported that five members of the Jaish ul-Adl group and one policeman were killed in a clash in the Khash district of Sistan and Baluchistan province.

A month later, four Iranian border guards lost their lives in a conflict on the Pishin border, originating from Sarbaz town in Sistan and Baluchistan province.

The Jaish ul-Adl group also claimed responsibility for the killing of 10 border guards from the Mirjaveh border regiment on May 6, 2017.

In April 2017, Ruhullah Aali" a commander of the Korin battalion from the 110th Brigade of the Salman Corps, was fatally shot.

The Jaish ul-Adl group carried out approximately 10 attacks on the military forces of the Islamic Republic in 2018.

On June 25, 2018, a clash erupted between the Revolutionary Guards and the Jaish ul-Adl group in the border area of Mirjaveh in Sistan and Baluchistan province.

While the IRGC announced the deaths of three of its forces and three attackers, the Jaish ul-Adl group claimed that 11 IRGC forces were killed in the conflict, with no casualties on their side.

In late October 2018, the Jaish ul-Adl group announced an attack on a guard base in Mirjaveh city, resulting in the capture of 12 Iranian border guards.

Following the kidnapping, the Quds headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards cited treason by agents or infiltrators as the reason for the incident but did not provide further explanation

On February 13, 2019, a suicide attack on a bus carrying IRGC members on the Khash-Zahedan route resulted in the deaths of 27 IRGC members and injuries to 12 others.

Between 2019 and 2023, there was a surge in attacks orchestrated by the Jaish ul-Adl group, with 2023 marking a peak, particularly targeting police headquarters.

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