Suicide bomb attack kills 4 in Iran’s southern port city of Chabahar, shots fired

Videos shared on Twitter said to be taken from the scene of the attack at Chabahar show smoke rising into the sky. (Screen grab)
Updated 07 December 2018
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Suicide bomb attack kills 4 in Iran’s southern port city of Chabahar, shots fired

  • The attackers tried to enter the Chabahar police headquarters
  • A car bomb was detonated as security guards thwarted the initial attack

DUBAI: Iranian state TV has reported a suicide bomb attack killing at least four people - including two police - and wounding several others on Thursday in the Iranian southern port city of Chabahar.

“This morning a bomb inside a car exploded near a police station in Chabahar and four people were injured,” an official told state television, referring to it as a “terror incident.”

“The suicide attacker set off the explosion after stopping at police headquarters in Chabahar.”

The report went on to say that shooting could also be heard in the city on Thursday. Details were sketchy as the situation was still developing.

Chabahar governor Rahmdel Bameri said many people were also wounded in the morning car bombing.
“The explosion was very strong and broke the glass of many buildings close by," Bameri told state television.
Many nearby shop owners and civilian passers-by, including women and children, were severely wounded, he added.

Images posted on Twitter that appear to show the scene after the blast, show debris, damaged vehicles, and what appears to be the mangled remains of the vehicle that carried the explosive device.

Mohammad Hadi Marashi, deputy governor for security affairs, told state TV multiple assailants took part in Thursday's attack, that left several dead, including two police officers.

"The terrorists tried to enter Chabahar police headquarters but they were prevented by the guards and they detonated the car bomb," Marashi added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
TV also reported shooting in the area, which is located in the mainly Sunni province of Sistan-Baluchestan that has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants.
Videos shared on Twitter said to be taken from the scene show smoke rising into the sky with the sound of sirens heard in the background.  

 

State authorities did not identify who was behind the attack. No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chabahar, near Iran's border with Pakistan on the Sea of Oman, is home to a new port recently built and is an economic free zone for the country.

[Developing]


Egypt restricts yellow vests sales to avoid copycat protests

Updated 9 min 55 sec ago
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Egypt restricts yellow vests sales to avoid copycat protests

  • Egypt has virtually banned protests, and the general-turned-president El-Sisi often warns that his tough hand ensuring stability is necessary
  • The yellow vests worn by French protesters have become the symbol of the wave of demonstrations that began in November

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities have quietly introduced restrictions on the sale of yellow reflective vests, fearing opponents might attempt to copy French protesters during next month’s anniversary of the 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, security officials and retailers said Monday.
They said industrial safety equipment dealers have been instructed not to sell yellow vests to walk-in buyers and to restrict business to wholesale sales to verified companies, but only after securing police permission. They were told offenders would be punished, the officials said without elaborating.
Six retailers in a Cairo downtown area where industrial safety stores are concentrated said they were no longer selling yellow vests. Two declined to sell them, giving no explanation, but the remaining four told The Associated Press they were told not to by police.
“They seem not to want anyone to do what they are doing in France,” said one retailer. “The police came here a few days back and told us to stop selling them. When we asked why, they said they were acting on instructions,” said another. Both spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Security officials said the restrictions would remain in force until the end of January. They said industrial safety product importers and wholesale merchants were summoned to a meeting with senior police officers in Cairo this week and informed of the rules.
The officials, who have first-hand knowledge of the measures, spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media. Repeated calls and messages to the spokesman of the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, to seek comment went unanswered.
The move showcases the depth of the Egyptian government’s concern with security. The past two years, Egyptian authorities clamped down heavily, deploying police and soldiers across the country, to prevent any marches to commemorate the Jan. 25 anniversary of the start of the 2011 uprising. Scores were killed and wounded in clashes during the uprising anniversaries in years before that.
The yellow vests worn by French protesters have become the symbol of the wave of demonstrations that began in November against a rise in fuel taxes but mushroomed to include a range of demands, including the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron.
Egyptian media coverage of the unrest has emphasized the ensuing riots, looting and arson in Paris, echoing President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s frequent refrain that street action leads to chaos. He recently outright denounced for the first time the 2011 uprising, saying it plunged the country into economic and political turmoil.
Egypt has virtually banned protests, and the general-turned-president El-Sisi often warns that his tough hand ensuring stability is necessary, pointing to war and destruction in Syria, Yemen and Libya as the alternative. His emphasis on security has taken on added significance amid his ambitious program to reform the economy, which has unleashed steep price hikes, hitting the middle class hard.
Since El-Sisi rose to office in 2014, there have been no significant protests. Still, the government is constantly wary they could return, especially given that the 2011 protests erupted as part of a chain reaction, inspired by Tunisia’s “Arab Spring” uprising.
Rights lawyer Gamal Eid said his Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information has seen a recent spike in small “social protests,” with the privatization of state-owned enterprises the main issue.
“The government here is talking up its achievements, but it fears a backlash because ordinary people have yet to tangibly benefit from the mega projects underway,” said Eid, who is banned by authorities from traveling while his group’s online site is blocked by the government.
Negad Borai, another rights lawyer, said the government could delay expected price hikes next year “to avoid protests inspired by what’s happening in France.”
El-Sisi led the military’s 2013 ouster of a freely elected but divisive president. He was elected in 2014 and, earlier this year, won a second-term, running virtually unopposed. He has overseen the largest crackdown on critics seen in Egypt in living memory, jailing thousands of Islamists along with pro-democracy activists, reversing freedoms won in the 2011 uprising, silencing critics and placing draconian rules on rights groups.