Balakot Jaish camp, destroyed by IAF, was like ‘5-star resort’: Report
Hundreds of fidayeen or suicide attackers and their trainers were shifted from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to a five-star resort style camp at a hilltop forest in Balakot after the Pulwama attack, providing Indian forces with “a sitting duck target” when they carried out an air strike early Tuesday, killing nearly 300 terrorists, PTI has reported, quoting sources.
The sources said those killed included 25 to 27 trainers at the the 7-acre camp, terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest in Pakistan. The Jaish had masterminded the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed 40 jawans. The group is headed by Masood Azhar, whose brother-in-law Yousuf Azhar reportedly ran the camp.
Everyone at the camp was sleeping when the IAF mirage 2000s bombed it at around 3.30 am; the 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, PTI said.
India had received intelligence that JeM had shifted many in-training terrorists and hardcore operatives, along with their trainers, to the Balakot camp, which has facilities to house 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 PTI report said, citing sources. 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 khandahar (ruins) of the once-flourishing camp,” said the source.