TEHRAN: Iranian police wounded five armed thugs in a rare shootout in Tehran, local media reported on Monday, quoting a senior police officer.
"There were some armed clashes when some thugs used firearms as the police tried to arrest them," Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency, without specifying when the incident occurred.
"Five thugs were shot and are now in the hospital," he said during a media briefing on his unit's efforts to curb violence in Tehran.
Petty crimes and robbery in Tehran are reported sporadically but armed clashes are relatively rare.
Sajedinia said 58 people were rounded up in the latest operation, all of whom had prior criminal records, including of felony and robbery.
Police operations targeting lawbreakers are carried out regularly in Iran, with some 100 people arrested in a December sweep that deputy head of the Iranian police Ahmad Reza Radan said had resulted in a sharp reduction in crime.
The latest operation followed the brutal assault of a man by four masked men in a Tehran street, filmed and posted on YouTube, which sparked public outrage.
Two of the attackers who led the assault were hanged in public on Sunday.
Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani has urged police to confront those who wield weapons such as knives and clubs, saying they could be sentenced to death under Iran's interpretation of Islamic sharia law. (AFP)