Pakistan hits targets in Iran in retaliation to missile and drone strikes, 7 killed

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Islamabad | Pakistan on Thursday struck “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Sistan-o-Baluchistan province, in response to Tehran’s attack two days ago.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad said that forces carried out “a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes and killed a number of terrorists during the intelligence-based operation codenamed ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar'”, Dawn news reported.

A security official told Xinhua news agency that “all targets were hit precisely”.

“We hit the confirmed terrorists. In our view all terrorists are our targets irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, or sect,” the official added.

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On Tuesday, Iranian strikes in the border town of Panjgur in Balochistan led to the alleged deaths of two children.

Tehran claimed the strikes were aimed at Jaish al-Adl terrorist group based in the town and denied that Pakistani civilians were killed.

In response, Islamabad warned Tehran of "serious consequences" for the "illegal" action, banned Iran's ambassador from returning to the country and also withdrew its own envoy from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Ministry statement also said that “over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani origin terrorists calling themselves Sarmachars on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran".

"Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists. However, because of lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of 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. This action is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats.

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"The successful execution of this highly complex operation is also a testimony to the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred,” the statement added.

Iranian media has claimed that seven people were killed as a result of Pakistan's strikes, reports Xinhua news agency.

Alireza Marhamati, Sistan-o-Baluchistan's deputy governor for security and law enforcement, told Iran's official news agency IRNA that the victims were foreign nationals.

By IANS

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