Pakistan said Thursday that it had carried out strikes against militant targets in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, a day after Iran launched attacks on Pakistan targeting the Baluchi militant group Jaish al-Adl.
“This morning Pakistan undertook a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against terrorist hideouts in Siestan-o-Baluchistan province of Iran,” a foreign ministry statement said, adding that a “number of terrorists were killed during the Intelligence-based operation – codenamed ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’ (Death to Insurgents)”.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, a regional representative in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, which shares a border with Pakistan, verified that several explosions had taken place near the city of Saravan at approximately 0400. The deputy governor-general of the volatile province informed state television that Pakistan had conducted airstrikes on a village along the border, resulting in the deaths of three women and four children who were not Iranian nationals.
The attack comes after Iran confirmed carrying out strikes against “a terrorist group” on Tuesday in Pakistan – an attack that Islamabad said killed two children.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Wednesday denounced the “unprovoked and blatant breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty” before recalling its ambassador from Iran and blocking Tehran’s envoy – currently in Iran – from returning to the country.
Beijing said Thursday it was willing to mediate between Pakistan and Iran following the exchange of fire.
“The Chinese side sincerely hopes that the two sides can exercise calm and restraint and avoid an escalation of tension,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press conference, adding: “We are also willing to play a constructive role in de-escalating the situation if both sides so wish.”
The attacks coincide with a period of increased instability in the wider region caused by the ongoing conflict in Gaza.