Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Bandits" kill Iranian president's bodyguard, Iranian TV reports

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Bandits killed a guard of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hours before the leader visited southeastern Iran this week, Iranian television reported Saturday.

The broadcast said another guard and a driver were wounded in Thursday's assault on a road about 2,000 kilometres southeast of the capital Tehran. The guards were making security checks in the area several hours before Ahmadinejad passed in a motorcade, the report said.

The motive for the attack was unclear. Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ahmadinejad provoked an international stir during the three-day trip to the region when he called the Holocaust a "myth" used as a pretext for carving out a Jewish state in the heart of the Muslim world. Iran's interior minister said Friday western governments had "misunderstood" the comments.

The president ended his tour to the area Friday.

Eastern Iran has been the scene of frequent police clashes with drug-smugglers and bandits. Iran is located on a major drug route between Afghanistan, the world's largest supplier of heroin and opium, and Europe.

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