Pakistan Says Iran Airstrikes Killed Two Children, Iran Claims it Struck Militant Base

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Pakistan Says Iran Airstrikes Killed Two Children, Iran Claims it Struck Militant Base

| Updated: January 17, 2024 17:25

Islamabad has condemned the "unprovoked violation" of its airspace after an Iranian attack killed two children and injured three people. Iran says it struck a Sunni militant group.

Iran claimed it struck bases belonging to Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group in Pakistan, in a cross-border attack Tuesday.

It comes after Iran launched similar attacks on Syria and Iraq over the past several days.

The missile attacks took place on the day that caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar met with the Iranian foreign minister, H. Amira-Abdaloahian, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos.

The Iranian state media also reported that Tuesday was the day that Iranian and Pakistani navies held a one-day long military exercise at the Strait of Hormuz.

What do we know about the reported Iranian attacks on Pakistan?

Iranian state media first reported that drones and missiles were used in the operation, but then soon deleted that report, according to AP. It has since not republished news of the strike.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack, condemning it as an “unprovoked violation” of its airspace. It said that two children were killed in the incident and three people injured.

“This violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is completely unacceptable and could have serious consequences,” a Foreign Ministry statement read.

“It is even more concerning that this illegal act has taken place despite the existence of several channels of communication between Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan’s strong protest has already been lodged with the concerned senior official in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran. Additionally, the Iranian Charge d’affaires has been called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey our strongest condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and that the responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran,” it continued.

Why is there tension between Pakistan and Iran?

Beyond fears that the incident could further inflame the already tense situation growing around the conflict in Gaza, it rings ominous for relations between nuclear-armed Pakistan and nuclear-ambitious Iran.

The two have long eyed one another warily while at the same time seeking to maintain diplomatic relations.

Though Iran has engaged Jaish al-Adl militants in border skirmishes in the past, the execution of cross-border missile attacks had never taken place.

This article was originally published on The Wire on January 22, 2024.

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