Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn attack targeting terror camps in Balakot was confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on Tuesday. In a brief statement issued to media, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale spoke about ‘intelligence operation.’ “In an intelligence lead operation in the early hours today, 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,” Gokhale said. “Credible information was received that JeM was attempting other attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest camp of JeM in Balakot,” Gokhale added.
Talking about the terrorist killed in the airstrike, Gokhale said that, “large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. Camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar.”
The airstrikes are seen as a way by India avenging the Pulwama terror attack. On February 14, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed into a convoy while moving from Jammu to Srinagar in Lethpora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the attack.
In aftermath of Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the armed forces being given ‘free hand’ to avenge Pulwama attack. Addressing media in New Delhi after the CCS meet, PM Modi said, “Our security forces have been given free hand. The forces behind this act of terrorism and those responsible for it, will be definitely be punished,” he said. “If our neighbour which is totally isolated in the world thinks it can destabilise India through its tactics and conspiracies, then it is making a big mistake,” PM Modi said without naming Pakistan.
Meanwhile, there are also reports that Pakistan is shifting terrorist leaders, including Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, to safe areas after India demanded of strong action against them following the Pulwama attack on February 14, sources said. The sources added that on February 17-18, Azhar was shifted from Rawalpindi to Kot Ghani near Bahawalpur in Pakistan.
Media Briefing by Foreign Secretary (February 26, 2019) https://t.co/11jgiQfuBL— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 26, 2019
On February 14, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed into a convoy while moving from Jammu to Srinagar in Lethpora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the attack.