Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed the airstrikes by the Indian Air Force in Balakot and stated that a large number of JeM terrorists have been eliminated.

Biggest JeM training camp run by Masood Azhars brother-in-law eliminated by IAF Govt
news Airstrikes Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 12:01

The Indian Air Force carried out airstrikes on the biggest camp of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakot, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed to the media on Tuesday. He added that the airstrikes were pre-emptive and the largest JeM training camp was struck by the Indian Air Force.

“Credible intelligence was received that the JeM was attempting other suicide attacks in various parts of the country and the fidayeen terrorists were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary. India has struck the biggest training camp of the JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who have been trained for fidayeen action were eliminated,” Vijay Gokhale told the media.

The Foreign Secretary added that this facility was headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, who is the brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar.

“The government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all measures to fight the menace of terrorism. This non-military pre-emptive action was targeted specifically at JeM camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties,” Gokhale said.

"Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities," he added. 

News agency ANI had reported on Tuesday morning that at around 3.30 am, a group of Mirage 2000 fighter jets carried out airstrikes on terrorist camps located across the LoC and that around 1,000 kgs of bombs had been dropped. Unconfirmed reports had stated that the targets were Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist camps in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad. While Balakot is located in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad are located in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir.

ANI further reports that Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s but turned back due to the size of Indian formation. The Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force coordinated the operation.

The air strikes come 12 days after 49 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama. The attack, which triggered global outrage and condemnation, was claimed by the Pakistan-based militant group JeM and prompted a spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

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