TEHRAN: Militant atta­cks in southeastern Iran near the border with Pakis­tan killed 10 security personnel, state media repo­rted on Thursday, doubling an earlier toll.

The militant group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) claimed responsibility for the attacks in Sistan-Baluchestan — the province which has for years faced unrest involving drug smuggling gangs and militant groups.

Pakistan strongly condemned the attacks and expressed concern over growing militancy in the region.

“Pakistan unequivocally condemns the heinous and dastardly terrorist attacks at police and security installations,” the foreign ministry in Islamabad said.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and pray for the recovery of the injured.”

It added that Pakistan “is deeply concerned about the growing acts of terrorism in our region”.

“The case of the terrorist attacks was closed with the martyrdom of 10 members of the security forces,” and the killing of 18 “terrorists”, Iran’s state television said.

Majid Mirahmadi, vice minister of the interior, had earlier told the channel that five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the police died during two night-time attacks against a Guards base in Rask and a police post in Chabahar.

“The terrorists had planned to seize military bases,” Mirahmadi later told state television, adding that “none of them survived” the clashes. He added that the assailants appeared to be foreigners, without providing further details.

The number of assailants killed in the clashes also rose from the 15 which General Mohammad Pakpour, who heads the Guards’ land forces, had announced on television.

Jaish al-Adl claimed the attacks on its Telegram channel. Formed in 2012, it is listed as a “terrorist” group by Iran and also by the United States.

The group also claimed responsibility for an attack in December that killed 11 officers at a police station in Rask, one of the deadliest in years. The group claimed another Rask police station attack that killed one officer on January 10.

A week later, Iran said it retaliated with drone and missile strikes against Jaish al-Adl targets over the border in Pakistan.

In response, Pakistan said it carried out air strikes against Baluchi separatists inside Iran.

The Iranian strikes killed at least two children, according to Pakistan, while Pakistan’s strikes killed at least nine people in Iran, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2024

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