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India strikes back: IAF jets destroy Jaish terror camps across LoC

In retaliation to the deadly Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in the early hours of February 26 and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Feb 26, 2019 11:47 IST
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In retaliation to the deadly Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in the early hours of February 26, 2019 and attacked Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

The same was confirmed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale during a press conference in New Delhi on the same day. The Foreign Secretary revealed that India has struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.

According to Pakistan’s Director General of Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan, Asif Ghafoor, “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzaffarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”

Key Highlights

According to sources, the Indian Air Force used Mirage-2000 jets to drop 1000 kg of laser-guided bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300.

In the intelligence led operation, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.  

In the operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were reportedly eliminated.

The attacked facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (also known as Ustad Ghouri), the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed.

In total, it has been reported that more than two camps of the Jaish E Mohammed were destroyed and after the arrival of the Pakistan airforce, the Indian jets returned. However, the Indian foreign secretary has confirmed the attack on only one JeM camp.

Accordingly to preliminary information, it has been said that more than 200 terrorists might have been killed.

Significance

According to the Indian Foreign Secretary, the surgical strike 2.0 was a non-military preemptive action, which specifically targeted the JeM camp. 

The selection of the target was also conditioned by India’s desire to avoid civilian casualties. The chosen facility was located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. 

This is the first time that the Indian Air Force has crossed into Pakistan since 1971.

Does the attack mean war?

Though Pakistan has denied loss of life or property, their Army spokesperson said that the Indian Air Force violated line of control and then went back.

The retaliatory attack by India has created a tense situation at the border. All border forces have been put on high alert.

Background

The strike comes almost two weeks after a suicide terror attack on an Indian army convoy on February 14, 2019 that killed over 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.

The responsibility of the attack was claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which is led by Masood Azhar.

Following this, the Indian military carried out several encounters, in which the mastermind behind the attack -Ghazi Rasheed was shot dead. There were also casualties on the Indian side.

The current attack is similar to the surgical strike carried out by the Indian Army on September 29, 2016, when they attacked seven terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in retaliation to an attack on its base in Jammu and Kashmir's Uri.

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