Gunmen kill a member of Iran's paramilitary force and wound 3 others on protest anniversary

This is a locator map for Iran with its capital, Tehran. (AP Photo)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Gunmen opened fire on a group of paramilitary forces in southern Iran, killing one of them and wounding another three, state media reported Sunday.

Local media did not give a motive for Saturday's attack, which occurred on the anniversary of the death while in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini and the outbreak of nationwide protests. It was unclear if the attack was linked to the anniversary.

The official IRNA news agency said the attack targeting members of the paramilitary Basij occurred late Saturday in the town of Nourabad, some 630 kilometers (390 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.

In a separate incident, a man was shot and wounded by security forces near the city of Saqqez, in Iran's western Kurdish region. IRNA said he was shot after entering an area under military restrictions, without elaborating on his condition. The Kurdish rights group Hengaw had earlier reported that he was in critical condition, while the semi-official Fars news agency said he was stable.

The anniversary saw a heavy deployment of Iranian security forces in Tehran as well as Kurdish areas, where rights groups said there was a general strike.

Amini, who was from the Kurdish region, died Sept. 16, 2022, after being detained by Iran's morality police in the capital, Tehran, apparently for violating the country's strict dress code. Women are required to wear an Islamic headscarf, known as a hijab, in public.

The protests over her death spread to all areas of the country and featured calls to overthrow Iran's four-decade-old Shiite theocracy. Authorities responded with a heavy crackdown in which more than 500 people were killed and over 22,000 detained, according to rights groups.

The protests largely died down early this year but there are still widespread signs of discontent with the country's clerical rulers. For months after the protests women could be seen flaunting the hijab law, prompting authorities to launch a renewed campaign to enforce it over the summer.