July 12th, 2024

Pakistan condemns an attack by Iran, and says it killed 2 children and wounded 3 people

By Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press on January 16, 2024.

JERSUALEM (AP) – An Iranian strike on targets inside Pakistan killed two “innocent children” and wounded three other people, the Pakistani government said, calling the attack an “unprovoked violation” of the country’s airspace.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement confirming the attack, which were first first announced by Iranian media reports that were later withdrawn. The reports said the strikes were on bases of a Sunni militant group.

The attack further raises tensions in a Middle East already roiled by Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The attack also threatens the relations between Iran and Pakistan, which long have eyed each other with suspicion while maintaining diplomatic relations.

The Foreign Ministry statement said Pakistan strongly condemned the attack on its Balochistan province.

“This violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is completely unacceptable and can have serious consequences,” it warned.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

JERSUALEM (AP) – Iran launched attacks Tuesday in Pakistan targeting what it described as bases for the militant group Jaish al-Adl, state media reported, potentially further raising tensions in a Middle East already roiled by Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Confusion followed the announcements as some of the reports soon disappeared. However, any attack inside of nuclear-armed Pakistan by Iran would threaten the relations between the two countries, which long have eyed each other with suspicion while maintaining diplomatic relations.

The reported attack follows Iranian strikes on Iraq and Syria less than a day earlier, as Tehran lashes out following a dual suicide bombing this month claimed by the Sunni militant group Islamic State that killed over 90 people.

The state-run IRNA news agency and state television had said that missiles and drones were used in the strikes in Pakistan, which were not immediately acknowledged by the Pakistani government.

Jaish al-Adl, or the “Army of Justice,” is a Sunni militant group founded in 2012 which largely operates across the border in Pakistan. Iran has fought in border areas against the militants, but a missile-and-drone attack on Pakistan would be unprecedented for Iran.

The militants have claimed bombings and kidnapped Iranian border police in the past.

The state media reports were later suddenly removed without explanation, though the semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies still ran nearly identical stories on their websites Tuesday night. Press TV, the English-language arm of Iranian state television, later attributed the attack to Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

The reports described the strikes as happening in the mountains of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, the scene of low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists for more than two decades. Baluch nationalists initially wanted a share of provincial resources, but later initiated an insurgency for independence.

Authorities offered no explanation of what was happening, though sensitive stories in Iran can suddenly disappear from state media.

Officials in Pakistan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Iran long has suspected Sunni-majority Pakistan as hosting insurgents, possibly at the behest of its regional archrival Saudi Arabia. However, Iran and Saudi Arabia reached a Chinese-mediated détente last March, easing tensions.

Late Monday, Iran fired missiles into northern Syria targeting the Islamic State group and into Iraq at what it called an Israeli “spy headquarters” near the U.S. Consulate compound in the city of Irbil.

Iraq on Tuesday called the attacks, which killed several civilians, a “blatant violation” of Iraq’s sovereignty and recalled its ambassador from Tehran.

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