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Jaish chief Masood Azhar meets Lashkar leader Hafiz Saeed after IAF’s surgical strike: Sources

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 26 February 2019, 11:19 PM
Jaish chief Masood Azhar meets Lashkar leader Hafiz Saeed after IAF’s surgical strike 2.0
Jaish chief Masood Azhar meets Lashkar leader Hafiz Saeed after IAF’s surgical strike 2.0

Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Mohammed met his terrorist group counterpart Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed on Tuesday after the Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 jets conducted aerial surgical strike at the terrorists camps in Balakot across the Line of Control (LoC) on early morning, killing more than 350 members, according to sources. The meeting was conducted by Pakistan intelligence agency ISI.      

Masood Azhar had also met Syed Salahuddin of Hizbul Mujahideen on January 21. News Nation on Monday reported that Pakistan is shifting terrorist leaders, including Azhar, to safe areas after India demanded of strong action against them following the Pulwama attack on February 14. The sources added that on February 17-18, Azhar was shifted from Rawalpindi to Kot Ghani near Bahawalpur in Pakistan.

To keep Azhar and other terrorists safe, Pakistan has provided three-layer security which is guarded by local police, special forces and the Pakistan Army. The outer periphery is being guarded by the local police, while the second and third layers have been taken care of by special forces and the Pakistan Army.

More than 350 Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, Fidayeen and their trainers, were killed as IAF used 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets in a five-star, resort style camp in a hilltop forest in Balakot in Pakistan on early Tuesday morning according to sources. Hundreds of Fidayeen and their trainers were shifted from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to the camp in Balakot after the Pulwama attack, providing Indian forces with "a sitting duck target" when they carried out an air strike early Tuesday.

They said at least 325 terrorists and 25 to 27 trainers were at the camp, the biggest operated by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group, which had claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir that killed 40 jawans.

Everyone at the camp was sleeping and Pakistani defence establishment had no clue that the attack was coming so deep into their country because they had expected a surgical strike on camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir near the Line of Control, said the sources who are close to the government.

But India received intelligence that JeM had shifted many in-training terrorists and hardcore operatives, along with their trainers, to the Balakot camp, which has facilities for 500 to 700 people, and even has a swimming pool along with cooks and cleaners.

Fighter and other aircraft took off from several air bases in Western and Central commands at about the same time, leaving Pakistani defence officials confused as to where they were heading, the sources said. A small group of aircraft broke away from the swarm and headed to Balakot where "the sleeping terrorists were sitting ducks for the Indian bombing," said one source.

"They had no idea that Balakot was to be the target ... when the pictures come in you will see only khandhar (ruins) of the once-flourishing camp", said the source.

There has been no official confirmation that Indian Air Force jets carried out the attack, although defence sources have said that Mirage 2000 planes pounded the camp with bombs and levelled it.

The terror camp is located 20 kms from Balakot town.

Balakot is some 80 km from the Line of Control near Abbotabad where Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in hiding by covert U.S. forces who had also sneaked into Pakistan to carry out the operation, catching the entire Pakistani military unawares.

First Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 05:08 PM
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