Civilians killed as a result of Pakistani retaliatory raids on Iran

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Pakistani air strikes on Iran on Thursday morning killed four children and three women, a local official told Iranian state television, while nine people were later announced dead.

The strikes came early Thursday after Iran launched strikes on Pakistan on Tuesday night, raising tensions between Islamabad and Tehran.

It also comes amid the war in the Gaza Strip which has increased tensions across the wider Middle East.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the Pakistani Air Force carried out retaliatory strikes on militants inside Iran.

The strikes came in the wake of the killing of two children in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement said, “This morning, Pakistan carried out a series of highly coordinated and targeted military strikes against terrorist hideouts in the Sistan or Baluchistan province of Iran”.

Pakistan called its operation “Marg Bar Sarmachar”; In Iranian Persian, “marg bar” means “death” – a popular saying in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that has been used to refer to both the United States and Israel.

In the local Balochi language, the word “sarmachar” means guerrilla warfare and is used by militants operating in the cross-border region.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry added, “The action was taken this morning in light of reliable intelligence information about large-scale imminent terrorist activities,” adding, “This action is evidence of Pakistan’s firm determination to protect and defend its national security against all threats”.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that interim Pakistani Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, who is in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, has cut short his trip to return to his country.

The Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Gilani also returns to his country from a trip to Uganda.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army, a separatist group, said in a statement that the strikes targeted and killed members of the group.

“Pakistan will pay the price for this… Now the Baloch Liberation Army won’t remain silent… We’ll avenge him and declare war on the state of Pakistan,” the group warned.

Iranian official media reported on Thursday that several explosions were heard near the city of Saravan, close to the border between Iran and Pakistan.

The Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted the Deputy Governor of Sistan and Baluchistan Province, Ali Reza Marhamati, as saying that the authorities are conducting an investigation.

Several rebel groups are active in Iran and Pakistan, including the Sunni separatist group Jaish al Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran targeted in its attack less than two days ago.

They all have a common goal, which is the independence of Baluchistan for the Baloch ethnic regions of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

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