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Rigi's Escape Plan Foiled by Iranian Fighter Jets

Official: Rigi's Escape Plan Foiled by Iranian Fighter Jets

TEHRAN (FNA)- Several Iranian F4 fighter jets stopped the plane carrying the ringleader of the Jundollah terrorist group, Abdolmalek Rigi, from escaping the country's airspace, a senior Iranian official said on Monday, explaining Rigi's last-ditch efforts to escape Iranian authorities last week.

"The plane carrying the terrorist aimed to soar and escape from the hands of the Army's fighter jets," Supreme Leader's Chief of Staff in Political and Religious Affairs Hojjatoleslam Qolamreza Safayee said.

He said Rigi did not even think of being identified by the Iranian security forces after boarding on the Kyrgyz airliner because he was wearing make-up to disguise his face and was using a fake passport.

"After the Boeing jet carrying Rigi entered Iran's airspace at 1:40 am local time, an F4 fighter jet took off to escort the plane and ordered the Kyrgyz airliner to land in Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas, but the pilot refrained to do so, Safayee continued.

But the plane eventually landed after it saw two more Iranian F4 fighter jets were escorting it.

Iran announced on Tuesday that it had arrested ringleader of Jundollah terrorist group Abdolmalek Rigi after intensive and long term intelligence and security operations.

Jundollah is responsible for several other terrorist operations which killed tens of citizens and security forces. In 2007, Jundollah kidnapped 30 people in Sistan and Balouchestan province. They were freed during a Pakistani police operation after abductors took them to the country.

Jundollah claimed responsibility the same year for an attack on an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) bus in which 11 IRGC personnel were killed.

In its latest crime in October, the Pakistan-based terrorist group, closely affiliated with the notorious al-Qaeda organization, claimed responsibility for a deadly attack in the southeastern Sistan and Balouchestan province which killed 42 people among them a group of senior military commanders, including Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) ground force Brigadier General Nourali Shoushtari.

Iran Deplores US Support for Terrorism

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday strongly criticized the US administration for its support for the well-known anti-Iran terrorist individuals and groups, like Jundollah and Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO).

"Does fighting terrorism mean supporting professional killers?" Mottaki told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Mottaki then reminded US support for the ringleader of the Jundollah terrorist group, Abdolmalek Rigi, and asked the 47-member forum, "Doesn't the US know that over 400 people have been killed or wounded in criminal activities carried out by this group?"

"The US must explain why it has scheduled a meeting with Abdolmalek Rigi. The US must explain what Abdolmalek Rigi was doing at the US base in Afghanistan and why he was going to meet high-ranking US officials at the US Manas base near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast who accompanied Mottaki quoted him as saying.

Mottaki also criticized the US and its European allies for striking the name of anti-Iran terrorist group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), off the list of the terrorist groups.

Mottaki remarks came a week after Iran announced that it has arrested Rigi after intensive and long-term intelligence and security operations.

Later on Friday, in a televised confession, Abdolmalek Rigi said that in a Dubai meeting with CIA agents, the United States offered to provide him with military aid to wage an insurgency against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Jundollah leader added that he was to meet a top US intelligence official at the US military base in Kyrgyzstan to work out the details of the support the US would provide for his group.

Later it was revealed that Rigi was scheduled to meet US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke at the Manas Air Base for talks.

Media reports said that Holbrooke was in Kyrgyzstan to visit the only US air base in Central Asia.


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