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Pakistan launches retaliatory strike on Iran

Pakistan's retaliatory strike on 18 January was in response to an Iranian attack on 16 January. PAF assets at Shahbaz airbase and Turbat International Airport were possibly used in the strike. (Janes)

Pakistan's military conducted a retaliatory airstrike on Iran on 18 January in response to Tehran using missiles and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on alleged insurgents in western Pakistan on 16 January.

Pakistan military's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate said on 18 January that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had struck targets inside Iran using “UAVs, rockets, loitering munitions, and stand-off weapons” that morning.

According to the ISPR, the targets were strongholds and hideouts of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF). These groups seek greater autonomy in southwestern Pakistan's Balochistan region. Islamabad identifies both groups as terrorist organisations.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said on 18 January that the attacks were conducted on locations in the Sistan-o-Baluchestan province in eastern Iran. An MoFA spokesperson said that the PAF strikes were conducted “in light of credible evidence of impending large-scale terrorist activity against Pakistan”.

Alireza Marhamati, deputy governor of the Sistan-o-Baluchestan province, said that Pakistan had struck at least two primary locations – a village close to the Iran-Pakistan border at around 0430 h local time, followed by an explosion near the town of Saravan. A statement attributed to the Pakistan Armed Forces on 18 January claimed that seven target sites were struck following prior reconnaissance by UAVs .

According to Marhamati, three women and four children were killed in the strike near the border area with no casualties being reported near Saravan.

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