Islamabad on Thursday said it had carried out targeted strikes against terrorists in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province, two days after Tehran launched a deadly airstrike against “terrorist targets” in Pakistan.
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Two days after the Iranian attack, on Thursday January 18, Pakistan announced that it had carried out nighttime “strikes against terrorist hideouts” in Iran, in which seven people were killed, according to Iranian public television.
Three women and four children were killed in explosions in the country's southeast, Iranian state media reported.
“This morning, Pakistan carried out precise, highly coordinated and specifically targeted strikes against terrorist hideouts in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan,” Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement. “Many terrorists were killed,” he said.
Iranian official agency IRNA noted that “several explosions were heard in several areas around the city of Saravan,” citing an official from Sistan-Baluchistan, where the army is tackling an insurgency that has been dormant for decades.
Tehran launched airstrikes against “terrorist targets” in Pakistan on Tuesday evening. Islamabad on Wednesday termed the attack, which left two children dead, “totally unacceptable” and unjustified.
Pakistan's foreign ministry said on Thursday: “This morning's action was taken in light of credible intelligence about imminent terrorist activities on a large scale.
According to Pakistani media, the Iranian attack took place near Panchkur in southwest Balochistan province (West), where Pakistan and Iran share a thousand-kilometer border. In response, Pakistan withdrew its ambassador to Iran and decided to block the return of Iran's current ambassador to the country.
“Response with missiles and drones”
Iran's Mehr news agency noted that this “missile and drone response” targeted the headquarters of the jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice in Arabic) in Pakistan in response to Iran's “aggression against security”. . Jaish al-Adl, which was formed in 2012, 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 Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Iranian attacks come at a time when the Middle East has been rocked by the war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip and attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen against merchant ships in the Red Sea.
Iran and Pakistan often blame each other for allowing insurgent groups to launch attacks on each other, but the two countries' authorities have rarely been involved.
The United States condemned the Iranian strikes, with State Department spokesman Matthew Miller condemning the fact that Tehran “overstepped the sovereign boundaries of its neighbors over the past few days.”
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