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Tuesday 20 February 2018

America denies Iran's most wanted man visited base

Catherine Philp in Tehran

THE US yesterday dismissed as bogus allegations that it had hosted Iran's most wanted fugitive on a military base in Afghanistan hours before he was reported to have been captured by Iranian agents.

The denial came amid a series of sketchy and conflicting official reports surrounding Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Sunni militant group Jundallah, responsible for a series of devastating attacks on Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Iran has long accused the US, Britain and Pakistan of backing the group, which it says has links to al-Qa'ida in the Pakistani borderlands of Baluchistan. All deny involvement.

Heydar Moslehi, Iran's intelligence minister, told state media in Tehran that Mr Rigi had been arrested on an aircraft flying from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, a day after visiting a US military base in Afghanistan.

State TV showed a handcuffed Mr Rigi being led off an aircraft at an airstrip in Iran. There was no explanation of how Iranian agents could have removed him from a flight between two other countries, raising suspicions of a covert operation to capture Mr Rigi.

Mr Rigi is accused of masterminding a string of deadly attacks. (© The Times, London)

Irish Independent

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