The Ahwaz Martyrs Brigade of Ansar al-Furqan, a militant Sunni Muslim group thought to have connections to the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda (also known as Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Jahbat Fateh al-Sham) has claimed responsibility for a pipeline explosion close to the city of Ahwaz in Khuzestan Province, Iran. The incident happened overnight between Friday 29 and Saturday 30 December 2017. Authorities in Iran are yet to comment on the incident.
Image of an alleged pipeline explosion in Khuzestan Province, Iran. AMN News.
Khuzestan Province is an oil-rich region in the south of Iran, with a large Sunni population often at odds with the nation's theocratic Shia government. The Ahwaz Martyrs Brigade of Ansar al-Furqan, a group that first appeared in 2013, is one of a number of organisations in the area campaigning against the government, which accuses Saudi Arabia of funding them (a claim denied by Saudi authorities). The group has been linked to a number of previous incidents, including suicide bombings, but has not previously been known to attack the country's oil infrastructure.
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