TEHRAN: Pakistani air strikes on Iran killed nine people in a border region in the Islamic republic’s southeast on Thursday, state media reported, updating an earlier toll of seven dead.
“Two men were also killed in the missile attack this morning in one of the border villages of Saravan, bringing the death toll to nine,” the official Irna news agency said quoting Alireza Marhamati, deputy provincial governor of Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province.
Marhamati had earlier said that three women and four children were killed in the strikes.
In Moscow, Russia’s foreign ministry called on Iran and Pakistan to show maximum restraint and solve their differences through diplomacy or risk playing into the hands of those who would like to see the region descend into chaos.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a statement noted that the two countries are part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a grouping that Russia helped found.
“It is regrettable that this is happening between friendly SCO countries, with which we are developing partnership relations. Further aggravation of the situation plays into the hands of those who are not interested in peace, stability and security in the region,” said Zakharova.
Any anti-terrorist operation on another country’s sovereign territory had to be carried out in agreement and coordination with the authorities of that country, she said.
Pakistan said it had on Thursday launched “a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province.
Iran condemned the strikes, and summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaire “to protest and request an explanation from the Pakistani government,” according to statement by foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani.
The attack took place two days after Iran carried out strikes against “terrorist” targets in Pakistan which left at least two children dead.
On Wednesday Pakistan had denounced the strikes near the countries’ shared border, recalled its ambassador from Iran and blocked Tehran’s envoy from returning to Islamabad.
On January 10, the Jaish Al Adl (Army of Justice) terror group claimed an attack on a police station in the southeastern city of Rask which killed one officer.
The group had carried out a similar attack in December killing 11 police officers.
Formed in 2012, Jaish Al Adl is blacklisted by Iran as a terrorist group and has carried out several attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.
The group said on Wednesday it had killed a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Sistan-Balochistan, Irna news agency reported.