Iran-Pakistan Tensions: Updates on Targeted Strikes and International Response

2024-01-18 05:08:27

Islamabad said Thursday it had carried out targeted strikes against terrorists in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, two days after a deadly airstrike by Tehran against “terrorist targets” in Pakistan.

Published on: 01/18/2024 – 06:08 Modified on: 01/18/2024 – 08:35

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Two days after an Iranian attack on its territory, Pakistan announced Thursday January 18 that it had carried out “strikes against terrorist hideouts” in Iran during the night, which left seven dead, according to Iranian public television.

Three women and four children were killed in explosions in the southeast of the country, Iranian state media reported.

“This morning, Pakistan carried out a series of precision, highly coordinated and specifically targeted strikes against terrorist hideouts in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan”, in the southeast of Iran, announced in a statement the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “A number of terrorists were killed,” he said.

The official Iranian agency IRNA indicated that “several explosions were heard in several areas around the town of Saravan”, citing an official from Sistan-Baluchistan where the army has been facing a latent insurgency for decades.

The interim Prime Minister of Pakistan, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, will cut short his trip to the Davos Forum (Switzerland), the government announced. “He has decided to shorten his visit in view of current developments,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said at a press conference.

For their part, the Iranian authorities summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires in Tehran on Thursday. “Following the attack carried out early this morning by Pakistan on a border village in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, the Pakistani charge d’affaires was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for explanations,” reported the Tasnim agency.

Ambassador recalled

Tehran also carried out an airstrike on Tuesday evening against “terrorist targets” in Pakistan. Islamabad on Wednesday deemed this attack, which caused the death of two children, “totally unacceptable” and unjustified.

“This morning’s action was taken in light of credible intelligence of imminent terrorist activities on a large scale,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

According to Pakistani media, the Iranian attack occurred near Panjgur, in the southwest of Balochistan province (west), where Pakistan and Iran share a border of a thousand kilometers. In response, Pakistan recalled its ambassador to Iran and decided to prevent the return of the Iranian ambassador, who is currently in his country.

“Response by missile and drone”

The Iranian Mehr news agency had specified that this “response by missile and drone” had targeted the headquarters in Pakistan of the jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice in Arabic), in response to an “aggression against the security” of Iran. Jaish al-Adl, formed in 2012, has carried out several attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

On Tuesday, Iran launched missile attacks on what it called “spy” headquarters and “terrorist” targets in Syria and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan.

These Iranian strikes come at a time when the Middle East is shaken by the war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip and attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, against commercial ships. in the Red Sea.

Iran and Pakistan frequently accuse each other of allowing rebel groups to operate from each other’s territory to launch attacks, but it is rare for either country’s official forces to be involved.

The United States condemned the Iranian strikes, with State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller denouncing the fact that Tehran had “violated the sovereign borders of its neighbors over the past few days.”

Beijing as a “mediator”

In response, Beijing, which maintains privileged ties with Islamabad and Tehran, said on Thursday it was ready to “play a constructive role” to ease tensions between Pakistan and Iran. “If needed by both parties, we are willing to play a constructive role to calm the situation,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning, told the press.

China “sincerely hopes that both sides can demonstrate calm and restraint to avoid an escalation of tensions,” the spokesperson added.

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