DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A soldier shot to death three policemen and a fellow soldier at a roadside police station in southern Iran on Sunday, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported.
The violence took place near the town of Bampour, about 1,260 kilometers, (780 miles) southeast of the capital Tehran in the restive Sistan and Baluchistan province.
The southeastern province was gripped by unrest on Friday, drawing a lethal response from security forces and an activist group claimed they killed at least 16 people. It came in the seventh week of anti-government protests sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained after allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.
Tasnim cited a local police commander to report that the soldier opened fire after a dispute with another soldier over personal issues. The soldier was detained immediately. There were no additional details.
Such shootings are rare in Iran. In 2016 a soldier killed himself after shooting to death three of his comrades. Military service of up to 24 months is mandatory for men aged 19 and above in Iran.
Separately on Sunday, Tasnim reported that a “terrorist” was killed during an attack by two assailants on a station staffed by the elite paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in the city of Mahshahr in southwestern Khuzestan province. There were no other details.
Protests embroiling the country that began after Amini’s death first focused on the state-mandated headscarf, or hijab. But they quickly morphed into one of the biggest challenges to the government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Protesters chant for overthrowing the clerical rule and the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Security forces, including paramilitary volunteers with the Revolutionary Guard, have violently cracked down on the demonstrations, killing over 300 people, including 41 children, according to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights.