Iran: Kurdish rebels may have killed prosecutor

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian official says Kurdish rebels may have been involved in the assassination of a court prosecutor in the country’s northwest.

Gunmen fatally shot Vali Hajgholizadeh outside his home late Monday in the town of Khoy, near the Turkish border.

The area has seen occasional clashes between security forces and separatist Kurdish groups.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency on Tuesday quoted the head of the provincial justice department, Mohammad Ali Mousavi, as saying that no group has yet claimed responsibility for the killing.

Mousavi says that based on personal threats the prosecutor received in recent days, a Kurdish rebel group “probably was involved” in the killing.

State Press TV reported that four suspects have been arrested in the case.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Attackers gunned down an Iranian court prosecutor outside his home in the country’s northwest, state media reported on Tuesday.

Two gunmen opened fire at Vali Hajgholizadeh, described as a prosecutor with an excellent anti-corruption record, outside his building late Monday in the town of Khoy, about 470 miles (780 kilometers) northwest of Tehran.

The prosecutor died later of his wounds in a hospital, state television said.

The town of Khoy is close to the Turkish border in an area that has seen occasional clashes between security forces and separatist Kurdish groups.

The English-language state Press TV said initial reports indicate the prosecutor had received death threats over the past few days. It said an investigation was under way to identify and arrest the culprits.

Hajgholizadeh had a “brilliant record in battling land-grabbing, moral corruption, and counterrevolutionaries,” the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Ebrahim Mazraeli from the Khoy governor’s office as saying.

Last week a Tehran University physicist was killed in a mysterious, remote-controlled bomb attack in front of his home in the Iranian capital. No group took responsibility for the assassination and no arrests have been made.

Iranian officials have blamed the bombing on an exiled opposition group known as the People’s Mujahedeen, accusing it of acting on behalf of Israel and the U.S. The armed opposition group and Washington have denied involvement, while Israel has not commented. On Monday, Iran vowed to take revenge on Israel and the United States for the slaying of the physics professor.

The bombing came at a time of high tension in Iran, where authorities struggle to contain a resilient opposition movement that has challenged the result of June’s residential election and has also increasingly confronted Iran’s clerical leadership.