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Pakistan carries out airstrikes on targets in Iran

Iranian state media said at least nine people had been killed in explosions. It comes two days after Tehran attacked positions inside Pakistan that Islamabad said killed two children.

Pakistan said Thursday it had conducted overnight strikes on insurgent groups in Iran.

It comes two days after Tehran attacked "terrorist targets" inside the South Asian country.

"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."

The statement added, "Pakistan fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"The sole objective of today's act was in pursuit of Pakistan's own security and national interest, which is paramount and cannot be compromised."

Biden says strikes show Iran isn't 'well-liked' in region

US President Joe Biden said strikes by Iran and Pakistan on each other's territories showed that "Iran is not particularly well liked in the region," adding they were "working on" understanding how the situation will develop.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby also told reporters that, "We're monitoring this very, very closely. We don't want to see an escalation clearly in South and Central Asia. And we're in touch with our Pakistani counterparts." 

What has Iran said about the strikes?

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported explosions in the country's restive southeastern region.

"Several explosions have been heard in several areas around the city of Saravan," IRNA said, quoting an official in Sistan-Baluchistan province where the city is situated.

Iranian media reported that at at least nine people have died. Earlier reports said that three women and four children were killed in one of the explosions, adding that they were all non-Iranians.

The country's Mehr news agency said that several people were wounded. 

Tehran has asked Islamabad for an explanation about the strikes, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported. 

DW speaks to experts on situation

Pakistan's former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told DW that any concerns Iran had about terrorism or separatism should have been addressed through diplomatic channels rather than military action.

"I can just certainly say Iran did grotesquely stupid, wrong thing," Pakistan's former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told DW. "I don't think Pakistan had many options. I'm not in government right now, I can speak openly." 

Ian Lesser, the Vice President of the German Marshall Fund of the United State, told DW that the latest escalation between Iran and Pakistan was not linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, but that the Iranian regime was looking to secure its power.

"I actually don't necessarily see a link except to say that Iran is now in a mode of striking out at various groups around the region on its borders in ways that probably are driven by the fact that the regime simply sees this as integral to its survival," he told DW.

What happened in the Iranian strikes on targets in Pakistan?

On Tuesday, Iran said that it struck bases belonging to Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group in Pakistan. 

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said that two children were killed in the incident and condemned the strikes as an "unprovoked violation" of its airspace.

On Wednesday, Pakistan recalled its ambassador from Iran and blocked Tehran's envoy from returning to Islamabad following the strikes from Iran.

How have other powers reacted?

The tit-for-tat attacks by Sunni-majority Pakistan and Shiite-dominated Iran have added to the already complex and volatile security situation in the region, with world powers urging both sides to exercise restraint and not to let the conflict escalate further.

On Thursday, China said it was willing to mediate between Pakistan and Iran.

"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 said at a regular media briefing.

"We are also willing to play a constructive role in de-escalating the situation if both sides so wish," she said.

Mao reiterated that Iran and Pakistan were "friendly countries to China, and countries with important influence."

Russia called on Tehran and Islamabad to resolve their differences through diplomacy.

Saying that the situation is "regrettable," the Foreign Ministry in Moscow warned that "further aggravation of the situation plays into the hands of those who are not interested in peace, stability and security in the region."

What did the EU, US and India say?

The European Union said it was deeply worried about the "spiral of violence in the Middle East and beyond."

"These attacks, including in Pakistan, in Iraq and Iran, now are of utmost concern for the European Union because they violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, and they have also a destabilizing effect on the region," EU spokesman Peter Stano said on Thursday.

Iran had earlier this week also launched similar attacks on Syria and Iraq.

On Wednesday, the United States denounced the Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, which Tehran has claimed were carried out against "anti-Iranian terrorist groups."

"So we do condemn those strikes. We've seen Iran violate the sovereign borders of three of its neighbors in just the past couple of days," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told the media. 

India also issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that it is a matter between Iran and Pakistan. 

"Insofar as India is concerned, we have an uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism. We understand actions that countries take in their self defense," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a press briefing.

Second publication by courtesy of DW



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