Three more security personnel were killed by armed assailants across Iran on Thursday amid sweeping protests triggered by the death of a young woman in September.
Colonel Hassan Yousefi was traveling with another police officer in the Golzar Behest Mohammad area of Sanandaj city in northwestern Kurdistan province when they were attacked with knives and stones, according to the judiciary-affiliated Mizan News.
Yousefi died on the spot, while the other officer was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition.
A video shared on social media showed the victim lying on the road with his head bleeding profusely. The car they were traveling in was also damaged.
In a separate incident reported from the northeastern city of Mashhad, two young members of the paramilitary voluntary Basiji forces were stabbed to death by unidentified men.
According to Mashhad Governor Mohsen Davari, a group of armed men on Thursday called on local shopkeepers on Har Ameli Street to pull down their shutters in response to a three-day protest call given to mark the third anniversary of the November 2019 unrest in Iran sparked by a sharp rise in fuel prices.
The situation returned to normal after security forces appeared at the scene. However, soon after, a group of men carrying weapons attacked paramilitary Basiji forces, stabbing two of them to death and injuring three others, the governor said.
The two slain men were identified as Hossein Zeinalzadeh and Danial Rezazadeh.
CCTV footage shared online showed a knife-wielding man stabbing one of them before striking the other amid a scuffle.
The incidents come amid months-long countrywide protests that have rocked Iran in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.
Fatal attacks on police officers and paramilitary Basiji forces have become increasingly common in recent months, with several incidents of knife attacks and shootings reported across the country.
On Wednesday, at least nine people were killed in separate incidents in southwestern Khuzestan and central Isfahan provinces, most of them police personnel.
One of the officers, Colonel Reza Nasiri, who sustained injuries after two motorcycle riders opened fire in the Khane Esfahan area of Isfahan on Wednesday night, succumbed to his wounds on Thursday, taking the death toll to three, with seven other fatalities in Khuzestan.
President Ebrahim Raisi has urged security agencies to “immediately identify the perpetrators and leaders” of these attacks and “hand them over to the judiciary.”
More than a thousand people have been arrested in connection with the sweeping protests in the past few months, with legal trials commencing earlier this week.
Ibrahim Gafarian, one of the paramilitary Basiji members injured in the stabbing incident in Mashhad on Thursday, succumbed to his wounds in hospital, taking the death toll to three.
In a separate incident reported late Thursday, two security personnel were killed in clashes with protesters in Bukan, a city in northwestern West Azerbaijan province.
In preliminary verdicts, a court in Tehran has so far issued five death sentences, while giving prison terms ranging from 5-10 years to many others. The verdicts can be challenged in the appeals court.__The Nation