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Three hanged in Iran mosque bombing

Local TV broadcast images of the execution. Iranian authorities allege the men were involved in the attack Thursday by a Sunni militant group that killed at least 25 and injured 125.

May 31, 2009|Borzou Daragahi

TEHRAN — Less than 36 hours after a deadly bombing in southeastern Iran, three men were hanged Saturday in front of the mosque they allegedly targeted, official news media reported.

Local TV broadcast images of the executions, showing three people hanging from the gallows and spectators watching from behind a metal gate.

Officials accused the men of involvement in the bomb blast Thursday at the mosque in Zahedan, which left as many as 25 dead and 125 injured.

Authorities said the men were connected to the ethnic Baluch group Jundallah, a separatist organization fighting the government. Iran has claimed that the group is backed by the U.S.

Jundallah posted a statement on its website saying the men had long been in prison, only one of them was a member of the group and that none had been involved in the operation, for which it had claimed responsibility a day earlier.

A journalist also said the hanged men had been on death row for weeks. "Hanging the three in front of the mosque was to appease public opinion," said Emad Mazari, with the weekly Zahedan Morning.

But a government official in the region said the quick resolution of the case was due to competent police work, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Jalal Sayyah said intelligence officials launched an investigation immediately after the bombing. He said the suspects had been involved in previous violence, including a 2007 attack on a bus carrying members of the Revolutionary Guard and bomb attacks on mosques and a university.

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daragahi@latimes.com

Special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim contributed to this report.

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