Pakistan bombs Baloch insurgency in Iran, killing nine | International

Pakistan attacked several targets allegedly linked to the Baloch insurgency on Iranian territory in the early hours of Thursday, two days after Tehran launched missiles and drones against the bases of a Baloch Islamist organization in Pakistani territory, a action that Islamabad had described as “unacceptable”. .

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said “precision military strikes” had been launched against “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province and as a result “a number of terrorists” had been killed. In statements to the state agency IRNA, the deputy governor of this province bordering Pakistan, Ali Reza Marhamati, explained that three women and four children of “non-Iranian” nationality had died. Subsequently, the same source reported the death of two men, whose nationality was not specified. Video published by Iran’s Nour News agency from the suspected bombing site shows several destroyed or badly damaged one-story adobe buildings and a large hole in the ground.

Just as Tehran did after its attack on Pakistan, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry stressed that Iran is “a brotherly country” and that it respects its “sovereignty”, but criticized the presence of Baloch insurgents in “ungoverned spaces inside Iran”. The Pakistani press release denounces: “In recent years, in our conversations with Iran, Pakistan has shared its concerns about the shelters and sanctuaries enjoyed by these terrorists of Pakistani origin who call themselves ‘Sarmachars’ (…) However , due to In the absence of action, these so-called “Sarmachars” continue to shed the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the charge d’affaires of the Pakistani embassy in Tehran on Thursday to demand “immediate explanations” for the attack on Iranian soil. Due to Tuesday’s attack, Islamabad had recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations. Pakistan’s armed forces remain on “high alert” and any “risky actions” by Iran will be met “by force”, a military source told the agency. Reuters. This Thursday, Iran’s Air Force, Revolutionary Guards and Navy are conducting a military exercise in which ten planes and dozens of drones will fire on strategic targets to test the country’s air defenses, reported the Tasnim agency. The exercise is taking place over a large area of ​​southern Iran, including areas close to the Pakistani border.

Iran and Pakistan have maintained good diplomatic relations for most of their history, and in fact, just this week, the two countries’ naval forces conducted joint military exercises. Furthermore, they have in the past carried out coordinated operations against the Baloch insurgency, a stateless people of 15 million who speak a language of the Iranian family and who are divided between western Pakistan, southeast of Iran and southern Afghanistan. regions named after Balochistan. The territory in which they live is largely arid and mountainous, but it is home to great mineral wealth.

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Video capture from Iranian state television (IRIB) where several people can be seen at the scene of the attack in the border village of Saravan, between Iran and Pakistan, this Thursday. Iranian State Television (IRIB) / HANDOU (EFE)

A Pakistani intelligence source told the agency Reuters that the attacks were carried out through aerial bombardment, and several sources claim that Pakistani fighters entered Iranian airspace. An account on the social network Balochistan Liberation Army (BLF) and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), both groups – which demand independence for their region – are considered terrorists by Islamabad, and the latter is also on the lists of organizations terrorists. the United States, the European Union and China. Both groups have carried out attacks and assaults on Pakistani security forces and civilians.

Since the early 2000s, the Baloch insurgency in Iran has also intensified, but while groups operating in Pakistan are more secular in their ideas, or even Marxist in the case of the BLF, groups active in Iran, such as Jaish al Adl (the organization attacked in Pakistan), are of Salafist ideology and highlight their affiliation with Sunnism compared to the majority and official Shiism of Iran. For this reason, in addition to Iranian security forces, Shiite pilgrims are also the targets of their attacks. Tehran has carried out military operations against these groups in its border provinces, but considers its main bases to be in Pakistan, where it would receive help from other Islamist organizations. In fact, as Jaish al Adl itself acknowledged in a statement, the facilities hit by Iranian missiles on Thursday were homes where the wives and children of the group’s fighters reside.

Agents stand guard outside the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on Thursday. AAMIR QURESHI (AFP)

On Wednesday, the day after the Iranian attack in Pakistan, a colonel of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Ali Javdanfar, was shot dead on a highway in the Sistan-Baluchistan province as he returned from a mission. Jais al Adl claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying he had also killed two of his guards.

Amid increasing regional tensions resulting from the Israeli attack on Gaza on the 3rd, Iran suffered the largest attack since the founding of the Islamic Republic, with nearly 90 dead during the commemoration ceremony fourth anniversary of the commander’s death. …of revolutionary guard Qasem Soleimani, assassinated by the United States in Iraq. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and its perpetrators were believed to come from the Afghan branch of the jihadist group. The Iranian response, however, consisted of bombing the targets of jihadist groups in Idlib (Syria), the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and the bases of Jaish al Adl in Pakistan.

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