Yes, We Struck Pakistan: Foreign Secretary gives out details
Indian forces carried out a strike at the biggest camp of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakote early this morning, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Tuesday, hours after IAF dropped 1,000 pound bombs in a thickly-forested hilltop that has eliminated a large number of terrorists.
India called the strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp located deep on Pakistani soil as ‘non-military preemptive action’. In the first official briefing by a high ranking Indian bureaucrat, Gokhale made it clear that India carried out airstrikes to pre-empt further fidayeen style attacks on India.
Gokhale said that the strikes were carried out on "the biggest training camp in Balakot”, which he said was being run by Maulana Yusuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of JeM chief, Maulana Masood Azhar.
It isn’t clear at this moment whether Maula Yusuf Azhar himself was killed in the attacks carried out by India’s Mirage 2000 aircraft.
Without clarifying the number of casualties, Gokhale said that in the strikes were carried out based on an intelligence-led operation "in the early hours of Tuesday, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.”
The Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the February 14 terror attack in Kashmir's Pulwama, in which 40 soldiers were killed.
"Credible intelligence was received that Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country and fidayeen jihadis (suicide bombers) were being trained for this purpose," the Foreign Secretary said.
"India has given proof many times seeking action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and others at terror camps so big, that they can train hundreds of jihadis and terrorists at any given time. But due to Pakistan's inaction, this step was necessary and had to be taken," he said.
At around 3:30 this morning, 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force dropped 1,000 kg bombs on the terror camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, according to reports.
Pakistan claimed that the "no infrastructure was hit" and tried to downplay the impact. "Indian aircrafts' intrusion across LOC in Muzaffarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties," tweeted Major General Asif Ghafoor of the Inter-Services Public Relations.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also called an "emergency meeting” after India carried out air strikes across the LoC.
Qureshi said that India has carried out a misadventure against Pakistan. "I will call it a grave aggression. We had warned the world that such an act can take place. Today they carried out this misadventure against Pakistan. This is a violation of the Line of Control. Pakistan reserves the right to an adequate response and a right to self defence. I will meet the Prime Minister and present him with the view of the Foreign Ministry," he added.
The airstrikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is the first time Indian Air Force has been used in Pakistan controlled air space after the 1971 war. During the 1999 Kargil conflict, the Vajpayee government had decided to restrict the use of IAF to own side of LoC.
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