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Iran rebel group Jundallah announces new leader

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The Iran rebel group Jundallah has announced its choice of a new leader after the previous commander was captured last week.

Iran has touted the capture as a major victory against Jundallah, a Sunni group that it claims is backed by the US. The move to name a new leader comes after Iran broadcast a supposed confession from the captured commander in which he says the group received US support.

The Associated Press reports that Jundallah named al-Hajj Mohammed Dhahir Baluch as its new leader.

"The movement is more than its leader," said the statement posted in Arabic Saturday. "With firm determination and strong will it will continue on the path of jihad till the last drop of blood."

An earlier version of the statement appeared on the site in Farsi Friday.

The statement described the "painful event" of former leader Abdulmalik Rigi's capture on Tuesday, but said all the tribes of Baluchistan had pledged allegiance to the new leader.

'Soldiers of God'

Jundallah, which means “Soldiers of God,” is a militant Sunni group that claims to fight for the rights of the Sunni and ethnic Baluchi minority in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province. Iran accuses the US of backing the group, and says it often launches attacks from across the border in Pakistan. The group has taken responsibility for a string of attacks in recent years that have killed both Iranian troops and civilians, including an attack last year that killed five senior commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

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