Iran on Wednesday accused Iran of killing two children on its border, after Tehran carried out similar attacks against what it called “anti-Iranian terrorist groups” in Iraq and Syria.
Islamabad deemed the strike near the border shared by the two countries “completely unacceptable” and unjustified. Iranian officials did not immediately comment. But according to Iranian state agency Noor News, the attack led to the destruction of the headquarters of the jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Force of Justice) in Pakistan.
“Violation of Pakistan's Sovereignty”
Jaish al-Adl, formed in 2012, is considered a terrorist group by Tehran and has carried out several attacks on Iranian soil in recent years. On Tuesday, Iran launched missile strikes on “espionage” headquarters and “terrorist” targets in Syria and autonomous Kurdistan in Iraq.
The Iranian strikes come as the Middle East is rocked by a war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip and attacks by pro-Palestinian Houthi rebels from Yemen against merchant ships in the Red Sea. The Islamabad statement did not specify where the Iranian attack took place.
Several Pakistani social media accounts reported the explosions in Pakistan's western province of Balochistan, where the two countries share nearly a thousand kilometers of border. “Violating Pakistan's sovereignty is completely unacceptable and could have dire consequences,” the ministry warned in a statement. The strike on Tuesday evening in Pakistani territory “caused the death of two innocent children and injured three girls,” the same source said.
Pakistan said it had summoned Iran's representative in Islamabad to protest “unjustified encroachment on its airspace”. Iranian agency Noor News X (formerly Twitter) wrote: “A few minutes ago, two main headquarters of the terrorist group Jaish-ul-Adl were targeted in Pakistan”. “This headquarters was destroyed by rockets and drones,” he added. In December, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on Rask police station that killed 11 Iranian police officers.
Good neighborly relations
The United States, which classifies Jaish al-Adl as a terrorist organization, says the group “primarily targets members of the Iranian security forces” but has also targeted government officials and civilians through assassinations, kidnappings and attacks that have amounted to suicide.
Tehran and Islamabad often blame each other for allowing insurgent groups to operate alongside each other to launch attacks, but official forces from either country are rarely involved. “It is very worrisome that this illegal act has taken place despite the existence of multiple channels of communication between Pakistan and Iran,” said Pakistani diplomacy. “Pakistan has always maintained that terrorism is a common threat to all countries in the region and requires concerted action…Such unilateral actions are incompatible with good neighborliness and seriously undermine bilateral trust,” the press release added.
Iraq recalled its ambassador to Tehran on Tuesday and condemned a “clear act of aggression” in the autonomous Kurdistan region, where four people were killed and six wounded in an attack, local officials said. Iraq has denied Tehran's claims that the attacks targeted Israeli intelligence services in retaliation for Israel's assassination of Iranian and allied commanders.
Baghdad said it would complain to the UN Security Council about this “attack on its sovereignty”. Iranian diplomacy defended a “precise and targeted operation” that ensured it used precision weapons to “identify” and “target” the headquarters of “criminals (…)”. Iran has made support for the Palestinian cause a central element of its foreign policy since its 1979 Islamic revolution, and Hamas. It described the deadly October 7 attack on Israel as a “victory”.
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