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India confirms "pre-emptive strike" in Balakot, Pakistan

India's air force "struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot, Foreign Secretary says

Tuesday February 26, 2019 12:29 PM, ummid.com News Network

India Pakistan News

[An Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter jet flies past during the Air Force Day parade at the Air Force station Hindon in Ghaziabad. (File photo)]

New Delhi: Hours after reports citing Indian Air Force (IAF) sources said India has conducted "surgical strike 2" on terror camps across Line of Control (LoC), Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale confirmed "non-military pre-emptive strike", in Balakot of Paksitan.

"India's air force "struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. A large number of JeM terrorists were killed. The strike avoided civil casualties," he claimed while talking with the media in New Delhi.

"Credible intel [intelligence] was received that JeM was planning more suicide attacks in India," he alleged. "In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.

"Top commanders were eliminated in the strike," he said, adding "the action took place just hours ago".

"Information has been provided to Pakistan from time to time [...] Pakistan has taken no concrete action," Gokhale said.

Media reports earlier in the morning Tuesday said that a group of 12 Mirage 2000 Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets in the wee hours Tuesday dropped about 1000 kg of bombs and destroyed a JeM terror camp across the Line of Control (LoC).

The attack took place 12 days after more than 45 CRPF were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama district of Kashmir.

Quoting sources in the Indian Air Force, news agency ANI reported that at 03:30 hours on February 26, a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it.

The IAF source further told ANI that 1000-kg bombs were dropped on terror camps across the LoC, adding that 12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation.

Another report citing Indian Army sources said that IAF jets struck training camps in Balakot at around 3:45 am, Muzafarrabad at around 3:48 am and Chakoti at around 3:58 am.

The attack took place after more than 45 CRPF troopers were killed in a worst terror attack in decades in Pulwama district of Kashmir when an explosive laden vehicle rammed into the CRPF convoy on February 14, 2019. Terror outfit JeM in a video claimed the responsibility of the attack.

Tension between Indian and Pakistan was high ever since the Pulwama terror attack with people from all over India calling for a "befitting" reply to the brutal attack. Prime Minister Modi had said the Indian Army had been given a free hand to take action.

Soon after the reports of the attack across LoC, billed as "Surgical Strike 2", came in, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah tweeted asking for clarity on the location where the IAF strikes took place.

"If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & a significant strike by IAF planes. However if it’s Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it’s a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads & militant camps are empty & non-functional," he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Pakistan admitted that IAF jets crossed over into its border but said they could not do "any damage".

“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircraft gone back. Details to follow,” Major Ghafoor initially tweeted.

“Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzaffarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage,” he added.

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