Indian Foreign Secretary confirmed Indian Air Force’s aerial strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps situated in Balakot
In a move that could be seen as a major crackdown on cross-border terrorism, Indian Air Force carried out air strikes on terror camps and militant training facilities located in Balakot, in a 3 a.m. operation, on 26 February 2019.
Addressing the media in an official briefing, the Indian foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, said, “Credible intelligence was received that JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.”
The air operation comes 12 days after the suicide terror attack on a military convoy in Pulwama region of Jammu & Kashmir.
An official statement released after the media briefing further added, “In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, 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. This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM.”
As per Gokhale, the air strike location of Balakot, a town situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, was selected with due consideration on civilians area nearby. He made clear that the location was “away from any civilian presence” and the air strike was directed to avoid civilian casualties.