Pakistan Carries Out Retaliatory Strikes in Iran, Escalating Middle East Tensions

Bianca Echa

Pakistan Carries Out Retaliatory Strikes in Iran, Escalating Middle East Tensions

The Pakistani military carried out targeted strikes against militant hideouts in Iran after Tehran launched similar attacks the day before, in an escalation of tensions. 

Read More: Iran Fires Missiles at Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan, Killing at Least 6 Civilians: What to Know

The nuclear-armed nation carried out the morning strikes against “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A number of militants were killed, it added. 

“This action is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats,” the ministry said in a statement. 

The tit-for-tat responses is the most significant escalation between the two neighbors who’ve had testy relations in the past. The strikes come at a time of rising turmoil in the Middle East over the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas, which has been raging for more than 100 days.

Read More: For Antony Blinken, the War in Gaza Is a Test of U.S. Power

Seven non-Iranians were killed in the explosions, which hit two locations around Iran’s border city of Saravan at around 4:30 a.m. local time, state TV cited the province’s Deputy Governor Alireza Marhamati as saying.

Pakistan’s response came after Iran launched strikes against Jaish al-Adl, a separatist group based in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, bordering Iran. Pakistan has said the attack killed two children and injured three others.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian phoned his Pakistani counterpart on Wednesday in an apparent move to ease tension between the neighbors even as Islamabad insisted it had the right to respond to the “illegal act” by Tehran. Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic ties by recalling its envoy from Tehran and asking the Iranian ambassador not to return to Islamabad.

Jaish al-Adl is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. and the Sunni militant group operates along predominantly Shiite Iran’s porous border with Pakistan. It’s launched multiple attacks on Iranian security forces, most recently a December assault on a police station that killed 11 people.

Pakistan became the second of Iran’s neighbors to react to an attack by the Islamic Republic on its territory. Earlier Tuesday, Iraq criticized a deadly Iranian missile hit on an alleged Israeli spy base in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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