Pakistan Targets Militants In Iran In Retaliatory Strikes 

Iranian media claimed at least three women and four children were killed in the explosions

Pakistan Targets Militants In Iran In Retaliatory Strikes 

Around 24 hours after Iran struck at suspected militant hideouts in Panjgur, Pakistan launched retaliatory strikes at militant targets in Iran on Thursday.

The government, in a statement early on Thursday, said it undertook a "series" of precision strikes against terrorist hideouts.

"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" in the intelligence-based operation.

Codenamed "Marg Bar Sarmachar" (Death to Sermcher in Persian), Iranian media claimed "several explosions have been heard in several areas around the city of Saravan", quoting a provincial official. Iranian media claimed the explosions left at least three women and four children dead.

Pakistan said that over the past several years, Islamabad had consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by the Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves "Sarmachars" who had sought refuge in the ungoverned spaces inside Iran.

The foreign office said it had shared with Tehran multiple dossiers containing concrete evidence about the presence and activities of these terrorists in Iran.

Due to a lack of seriousness on the Iranian side, Pakistan claimed that these terrorists had been attacking and killing innocent Pakistanis "with impunity".

"This morning's action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities by these so-called 'Sarmachars'."

Islamabad further asserted that the action was "a manifestation of Pakistan's unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats."

It warned that Islamabad will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve its people's safety and security, which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred.

At the same time, however, Pakistan reiterated that it respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran, a brotherly country whose people Pakistan has great respect and affection towards. Islamabad emphasised dialogue and cooperation in confronting common challenges, including the menace of terrorism, and that it will continue to endeavour to find joint solutions.

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

"In the exercise of our legitimate rights within international law, Pakistan will never allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be challenged under any pretext or circumstances."

Thursday's strike comes after Iran confirmed carrying out drone and missile strikes against "a terrorist group" — Jaish-e-Adl — late Tuesday in Pakistan, an attack that Islamabad said killed two children.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian said on the sidelines of WEF on Wednesday, "None of the nationals of the friendly and brotherly country of Pakistan were targeted by Iranian missiles and drones."

"The so-called Jaish al-Adl group, which is an Iranian terrorist group, was targeted," he added.

Abdollahian also said he spoke to his Pakistani counterpart and assured him that Iran “respects” Pakistan’s sovereignty. However, he added that Iran would not hesitate to act if its national security and interests came under threat.

US condemns Iranian strikes

Meanwhile, the United States condemned the Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that Tehran had violated the "sovereign borders of three of its neighbours in just the past couple of days".