Pakistan said on Thursday that it has launched air strikes on alleged militant hideouts in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province.

Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA reported that three women and four children were killed in the Pakistani strikes.

The military’s action comes two days after Iran attacked the alleged bases of the militant group Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan’s Balochistan province using missiles and drones. The Iranian strikes killed two children and injured three others, Pakistan had said.

Islamabad had described Tehran’s air strikes on its territory as an “unprovoked violation” of its airspace.

In its statement on Thursday, Islamabad claimed that “a number of terrorists were killed during the intelligence-based operation”.

It also said that in recent years, Pakistani officials had raised concerns about the safe havens “enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves ‘Sarmachars’ on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran”.

The statement said that Pakistan “fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Iran. “The sole objective of today’s act was in pursuit of Pakistan’s own security and national interest which is paramount and cannot be compromised,” it said.

Calling Iran a “brotherly country”, it said that Islamabad and Tehran need to find solutions to their bilateral problems through a dialogue.

A day earlier, Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry, in another statement, had called the attacks “completely unacceptable” and warned of “serious consequences”. It said that it had lodged a protest with Tehran, and that the head of the Iranian mission in Islamabad had been summoned and told that “the responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran”.

Pakistan had also expelled the Iranian ambassador and recalled its envoy from Tehran on Wednesday.

Al Jazeera quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as having told his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani on Wednesday that Tehran respects Islamabad’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but it would not “allow the country’s national security to be compromised or played with”.

Pakistan and Iran have locked horns over Jaish al-Adl’s actions earlier as well. In 2019, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard said that Islamabad should go after the armed group before Tehran takes its “revenge”, reported Al Jazeera.

The attack in Pakistan followed Iran’s strikes in northern Iraq on Monday against what it claimed were Israeli “spy headquarters”. On the same day, Tehran also launched attacks against targets allegedly linked to the Islamic State terrorist organisation in northern Syria.

On Wednesday, India’s external affairs ministry said that while it was a bilateral matter between Iran and Pakistan, New Delhi has an “uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism”. “We understand actions that countries take in their self-defence,” the ministry’s spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in a statement.