Pakistan launches strikes into Iran two days after missile strike

Connie Queline

Pakistan launches strikes into Iran two days after missile strike

EPA

Pakistan has launched retaliatory missile strikes into neighbouring Iran, two days after an Iranian attack inflamed relations between the two states.

Pakistan said its strikes had hit “terrorist hideouts” in the bordering Sistan-o-Balochistan province.

Iranian media reported that three women and four children had been killed.

Pakistan’s hit comes after it was outraged by Iran’s strike, which Tehran said was aimed at terrorist groups.

Both countries have long accused each other of harbouring militant groups that carry out attacks from regions along their shared border.

But official military action between Pakistan and Iran on this issue is uncommon, and they typically maintain cordial, although fragile, relations.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed its strikes, which had been first reported by Iranian media on Wednesday evening.

It said Pakistan “fully respects” Iran’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” but its action on Thursday was “a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats”.

Pakistan’s military action comes after it fiercely condemned Iran’s strike on Tuesday, which Islamabad says killed two children.

It had warned Tehran of “serious consequences” for the “illegal” action, banned Iran’s ambassador from returning to the country and also withdrew its own envoy from Pakistan.

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Iran insisted its strikes were aimed only at Jaish al-Adl, which it labels a terrorist group, and not Pakistan’s citizens.

But an angered Islamabad questioned the strike taking place “despite the existence of several channels of communication”.

Earlier this week Iran had also attacked targets in Iraq and Syria.

The air strikes come amid a major period of upheaval in the Middle East – with war raging between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, and attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group on ships in the Red Sea.

Tehran has said it does not want to get involved in a wider conflict.

But groups in its so-called “Axis of Resistance”, which include the Houthis, Hezbollah in Lebanon and various groups in Syria and Iraq, have been carrying out attacks on Israel and its allies to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The US and UK last week also launched air strikes on the Houthis after they attacked commercial shipping.

Map of Pakistan and Iran, highlighting Pakistan's vast western region of Balochistan, which sits on the border with Iran.

Related Topics

  • Pakistan
  • Middle East
  • Iran

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