New Delhi, Jan 17: In a series of escalating actions, Iran has announced its third air strike within a week, this time targeting a militant group in western Pakistan. Iranian state TV reported that the operation aimed at two sites in Baluchistan associated with the militant group Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni organization operating in Sistan-Baluchistan.
The strike is believed to have impacted Sabz Koh village, located approximately 45 km from the Iranian border. Described as a sparsely populated area predominantly inhabited by Baloch tribes engaged in livestock ownership.
Two children lost their lives, and three others sustained injuries, according to Pakistani officials. In response, Islamabad condemned the air strike as an "illegal act" and cautioned that it could result in "serious consequences."
Pakistan emphasized the breach of its airspace by Iran, expressing concern over the incident despite existing communication channels between the two nations.
The attack occurred on the same day that Pakistan's prime minister and Iran's foreign minister met in Davos, and both nations conducted joint naval drills in the Gulf.
This latest development unfolds amidst heightened tensions across the Middle East. The region has witnessed over 100 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, along with recent US-UK air strikes on Yemen. Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen have been targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea, adding to the volatile atmosphere.
Tuesday's air strike in Pakistan targeted the vast southwestern border province of Balochistan, focusing on Jaish al-Adl, an ethnic Baloch militant group responsible for attacks inside Iran and against Pakistani government forces.
The situation escalated further on Monday when Iran launched ballistic missiles at targets in Iraq's northern city of Irbil, drawing condemnation from the US.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards claimed to have struck an alleged Israeli "spy headquarters" in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. The attack resulted in four civilians killed and six injured, as reported by local authorities.
Additionally, Iran conducted strikes in Syria's north-western Idlib province, the last remaining opposition stronghold outside of Syrian government control.
The strikes were presented as retaliation for a recent suicide bombing that claimed 84 lives, marking the fourth anniversary of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani's assassination by the US.
Iran has explicitly stated its reluctance to become entangled in a broader conflict stemming from the conflict in Gaza. However, groups in its "Axis of Resistance," including the Houthis, Hamas, Hezbollah, and various factions in Syria and Iraq, have been carrying out attacks in solidarity with the Palestinians, creating a complex geopolitical landscape.