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Published On: Tue, Feb 26th, 2019

India strikes terror camps across LoC: ‘300 terrorists eliminated; PM Modi monitored strike’

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522edb435bad4fa214fbc8c0fff80fbcNEW DELHI : Twelve Indian Force Mirage-2000 jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) early on Tuesday morning and destroyed terror camps of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot.
The air strike, which has been dubbed surgical strikes 2.0, comes two weeks after a terror attack on CRPF solidiers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.

The Western Air Command coordinated operation. The Cabinet Committee on Security meeting, which was taking place at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ends. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials of the PMO and the security apparatus were present at the meeting.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday morning hit the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) terror group in Pakistan, eliminating a number of terrorists and their trainers, 11 days after a Jaish-e-Muhammed suicide bomber Adil Ahmed Dar rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a bus ferrying CRPF jawans in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.The Pakistan-based JeM had claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack.
Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed the air strike and said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar. The government said the camp was located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence.  Addressing the media, Gokhale said that the “non-military pre-emptive action was specifically targeted at the terrorist camp” located at Balakot, around 195 km from Islamabad.

Amid calls to take revenge for the Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently assured: “Is baar pura hisab lenge (We will settle the books in full this time).” Notably, on September 29, 2016, the Indian Army had conducted surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) as a response to an attack on its base in Uri on September 18, 2016.
According to intelligence sources the National Democratic Alliance calls all-party meet at 5 pm. according to sources around 300 terrorists and eliminators were eliminated in the attack. Also, the strike was monitored by PM Narendra Modi and three top ministers. “It was a laser-targeted operation.” People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti tweets: “Post pre dawn strikes carried out by IAF, conflicting reports coming in. Official communique by FS claims that  terror training camps were bombed while Pak denied this & said that the planes made a hasty retreat after being spotted. Hope objective of both sides has been served.”
“A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commander and Jihadis were eliminated. The camp was led by Maulana Yousuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghouri, the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar,” says the Foreign Secretary. JeM has been given patronage in Pakistan, says Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
“There was very credible intelligence info that JeM (Jash-e-Mohammed) was planning to carry out terror strikes across India, thereby making this strike absolutely necessary. It was a non-military, pre-emptive strike. India has decided to take action against any terror threat to it,” he said. A large number of terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis planning terror strikes were eliminated, said the Foreign Secretary. He said the “facility at Balakot”, located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence, was headed by Maulana Yousouf Azhar, or Ustad Gouri, the brother-in-law of Jaish chief Masood Azhar.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi alleges that India has conducted a violation of the Line of Control and his country reserves the right to an appropriate response. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hails the Indian Air Force. “IAF also means India’s Amazing Fighters. Jai Hind,” Banerjee tweets. The Maharashtra Assembly passes a unanimous resolution congratulating the Indian armed forces for carrying out air strikes.
A Pakistani unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has reportedly been shot down near the International Border in Gujarat’s Kutch district. Debris of the drone was spotted near Nanghatad village in Abdasa taluka of Kutch. ANI has mentioned sources as saying that air strikes in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region were based on locations provided by ground intelligence sources. As per the Pakistani media, around 200-300 casualties are feared. News agency ANI quoted sources as saying that Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s but turned back because of the size of the Indian formation.
Soon after the Pulwama terror attack, India had appealed to the international community to back the naming of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist”.On September 29, 2016, the army had carried out surgical strikes on seven terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in retaliation to an attack on its base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri earlier that month.
Meanwhile, 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. The Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the international border and the Line of Control, the news agency reported. (With Agencies Inputs ).

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