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Iran Revolutionary Guards say they killed 6 'bandits' in restive area

Iranian members of the Basij militia take part in an anti-US rally to protest the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by a US airstrike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, at Palestine Square in the capital Tehran, Iran on January 4, 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami / Anadolu Agency]
Iranian members of the Basij militia take part in an anti-US rally to protest the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by a US airstrike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, at Palestine Square in the capital Tehran, Iran on January 4, 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami / Anadolu Agency]

Iran's Revolutionary Guards killed six "armed bandits" in the country's southeast on Saturday, the elite force said on its website, in the second day of clashes in an impoverished and often restive region, Reuters reported.

Three local members of the volunteer Basij militia fighting alongside the Revolutionary Guards were killed in the clashes, the statement said.

The predominantly Sunni Muslim Sistan-Baluchistan province near the Pakistani and Afghan borders has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and Sunni Islamist militants fighting the country's Shi'ite authorities.

Many of Iran's Sunnis complain of discrimination, a charge denied by the state.

On Friday, Revolutionary Guards shot dead three men believed to have been involved in the killing of two Guards on December 25, according to Iranian media.

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