9 killed in Pakistani airstrikes on Iran
ISLAMABAD: (Web Desk) At least nine people were killed as Pakistan hit Iran with military strikes on Thursday, claimed Iranian state television, reported Iranian media.
Pakistan hit the targets with “highly coordinated” strikes in Iran, a little more than 24 hours after Iranian air raids in Balochistan.
As per a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan conducted “intelligence-based operation” against hideouts of armed groups in the Sistan-Balochestan province of Iran.
Pakistan said its attack was based on “credible intelligence” of “impending large scale terrorist activities” from across the border. The operation was codenamed “Marg Bar Sarmachar”.
“Over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani origin terrorists calling themselves ‘Sarmachars’ on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran. Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists,” the ministry said in its statement.
“However, because of lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity,” it said. “This action [Pakistan’s missile strike] is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats.”
A day earlier, Iran had launched air raids using “drones and missiles” against Jaish al-Adl, an armed group, near Panjgur city in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, bordering Iran. Tehran has accused the Jaish al-Adl of multiple attacks in the past.
Calling it “unacceptable”, Pakistan reacted to the Iranian action – which killed two children and injured three others. Pakistan also said the country reserves the right to respond to this “illegal act”.
Ali Reza Marhamati, a deputy governor of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, gave the casualty figures from Thursday’s strike. He said the dead included three women, four children and two men near the town of Saravan along the border. He said the dead were not Iranian citizens.
The Baloch Liberation Army, an ethnic separatist group that has operated in the region since 2000, said in a statement the strikes targeted and killed its people. “Pakistan has martyred innocent Baluch people,” it said. Pakistan’s military also said the strikes hit targets associated with the Baluchistan Liberation Front, though that group did not acknowledge the claim.