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Iran Hangs 16 to Avenge Guards' Deaths


An Iranian judicial official says authorities have hanged 16 rebels, just hours after gunmen ambushed and killed 14 Iranian border guards.

Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency quotes the official Mohammad Marzieh as saying the rebels linked to groups hostile to the Iranian government were executed Saturday in response to the attack.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing of the guards outside Saravan in a mountainous region near Pakistan.

The attack took place along a trail used by drug traffickers. Authorities were reported to be investigating whether the ambush was carried out by drug smugglers or rebels.

Iran is a major transit route for drugs that originate in Afghanistan and is trafficked across Iranian territory, with much of it bound for Western countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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