Iran conducted drone and missile strikes on Wednesday (17 January) against the Sunni-Salafist terrorist group, Jaish al-Adl, within Pakistani territory.
The attacks reportedly took place in the town of Panjgur, close to the Iran-Pakistan border, resulting in damage to a mosque 50 kilometres from the border.
The incident has caused uproar within the Pakistani military establishment. The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a strongly worded statement condemning the attack. According to their release, two innocent children were killed, and three girls were injured. The Iranian diplomat in Islamabad has been summoned to protest against the “unprovoked violation of Pakistan's airspace.”
Iranian state media first reported the incident, claiming the strikes targeted the headquarters of Jaish al-Adl inside Pakistani territory. Jaish al-Adl has been involved in multiple terrorist attacks in Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province.
Formed in 2012, the Sunni-Salafist group, also known as the "Army of Justice," is backed by the Pakistani army and supports a separatist movement in southeastern Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province.
Indian government sources allege that Jaish al-Adl was also involved in the kidnapping of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Iran's Chabahar, handing him over to Pakistani authorities and framing him in a fake espionage case.
The United States' Counter-Terrorism Guide of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) lists Jaish al-Adl as a terrorist group. Originally known as Jundallah, the group changed its name to Jaish al-Adl around 2012.
The DNI notes that Jaish al-Adl's stated goal is to secure recognition of Baluchi cultural, economic, and political rights from the Iranian government and to spread awareness of the plight of the Baluch people.
The attack came on the same day when the Pakistani interim Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The attack also follows a day after External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar's meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, where they discussed the volatile situation in the Red Sea.
This discussion included the recent missile and drone attacks on several commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea and near India's coast, such as the attack on MV Chem Pluto 200 nautical miles off the Gujarat coast, allegedly conducted by Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels using Iranian-made drones.
The attack on Jaish al-Adl's headquarters follows similar attacks in Iraq and Syria in response to bombings in the Iranian city of Kerman, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 80 Iranian nationals.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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