Al-Qaeda funds terror in Iran: Official
An Iranian official says members of a Wahhabi terrorist cell who were arrested last month were receiving support from al-Qaeda militants hiding out in Iraq, Press TV reported.
"This terrorist group operated with direct support from the al-Qaeda terrorist network in northern Iraq. The al-Qaeda network provided these terrorists with weapons financial backing and weaponry," a local chief prosecutor told Farsnews on Sunday.
"The group has a Wahhabi belief system and trains to carry out terrorist attacks and bombings. All terrorist activities in Kordestan Province were carried out by this group," said Ali Akbar Garousi.
"The arrested members of the group have accepted responsibility for all of them," he added, pointing out that other than the confessions, security forces had obtained enough physical evidence to prove their guilt.
According to the prosecutor, security forces had confessed two guns from the militants, which based on forensic tests, were used to assassinate two Sunni religious figures in a recent shooting where several other judicial officials also suffered injuries.
Last month, unknown gunmen shot and killed Mamousta Sheikholeslam, who represented the people of Iran's Kordestan at the Assembly of Experts in a mosque in the provincial capital, Sanandaj.
Prior to the incident, Sanandaj's interim Friday prayer leader Borhan Ali was also gunned down by unidentified assailants, who had earlier staged a failed attempt on a local judge, who survived the attack.
Garousi said in addition to the two weapons, 10 bombs, 10 explosive vests, several other guns, and a considerable amount of chemicals, ammunition and communication equipment were also seized from the group.
On September 11, Iranian security forces arrested 14 members of the al-Qaeda linked group. According to the prosecutor five members of the group were killed during the operation.
Garousi also noted that he believed the primary goal of the group was to fuel unrest by instigating sectarian violence between the region's Shia and Sunni communities.