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Iran Hangs 16 'Rebels' to Avenge Ambush That Killed Border Guards

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, attends a graduation ceremony of army cadets, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Oct. 5 2013. (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's media says authorities have hanged 16 "rebels" of an unspecified armed group in retaliation for the death of 14 border guards in clashes near the frontier with Pakistan.

The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted local judicial official Mohammad Marzieh as saying that the 16 were executed on Saturday morning hours after the rebels ambushed the border guards near the town of Saravan in southeast Iran.

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, attends a graduation ceremony of army cadets, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Oct. 5 2013. (AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

Drug smugglers have occasionally ambushed Iranian troops in the area. Ethnic Baluch armed groups also operate there, but recently have been much less active.

The report provided few other details. It did not mention a trial, suggesting the prisoners may already have been convicted and sentenced to death, and their executions moved up after the ambush.

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