Iran has carried out airstrikes on Pakistani territory, targeting a Sunni militant group, signaling an increase in violence across the Middle East.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry reported two children killed and three injured in what it deemed an “illegal” airstrike, leading to the summoning of Tehran’s senior diplomat in Islamabad.
While details were not fully disclosed, social media suggested the strikes hit Balochistan province along the Iran-Pakistan border.
The strikes on Pakistan occurred shortly after Iranian missile attacks in Syria and Iraq, a response to a double suicide bombing in Kerman on January 3, claiming over 80 Iranian lives.
Although the Islamic State claimed responsibility, it remains unclear if Tehran links Jaish al-Adl to the attack or if it was a broader retaliation against perceived adversaries.
This development follows Red Sea shipping attacks by Houthi rebels, supporting Palestinians in Gaza, prompting the US and allies to conduct airstrikes in Yemen.
The Biden administration is expected to redesignate the Houthis as terrorists, reversing a delisting in February 2021 to facilitate humanitarian aid to Yemen.
As tensions rise, Hezbollah fires rockets into northern Israel, and the Israel Defense Forces respond in southern Lebanon.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but details of the discussion remain unclear.
The Baluchistan region has been a hotspot for a low-intensity insurgency and independence aspirations, straining Iran-Pakistan relations.
Baluch militants crossing borders have fueled suspicions of Pakistani involvement, potentially in coordination with Saudi Arabia.
Despite a Chinese-mediated detente between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March last year, tensions persist.
A recent attack in April 2023 killed four Pakistani soldiers, underscoring the complex dynamics in the region.
Iran’s recent missile strikes in Syria, and Iraq, and the consequential fallout with Iraq, further add to the instability.
Iraq denounced the attacks, labeling them a “blatant violation” of sovereignty, recalling its ambassador from Tehran, and threatening to bring the matter to the UN Security Council.