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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

IAF’s Balakot strikes killed 130-170 JeM cadres, 45 being treated: Report

In a fresh revelation, an Italian journalist has claimed that 130-170 Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists may have been killed in the February 26 Indian Air Force airstrike at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

india Updated: May 08, 2019 22:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Picture of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) facility destroyed by Indian Ar Force strikes in Balakot, Pakistan.
Picture of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) facility destroyed by Indian Ar Force strikes in Balakot, Pakistan.(ANI file photo)
         

In a fresh revelation, an Italian journalist has claimed that 130-170 Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists may have been killed in the February 26 Indian Air Force airstrike at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Indian Air Force had carried out an airstrike in the dead of the night 13 days after the deadly suicide bombing at Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 CRPF jawans had been killed.

In a new report on the website stringerasia.it, Italian journalist Francesca Marino, claims that among the 130-170 JeM terrorists killed in the strike included “...11 trainers, ranging from bomb makers to those imparting weapons training. Two of these trainers were from Afghanistan.” She also claims that as many as 45 of the terrorists are undergoing treatment near the camp’s location and that 20 others may have died while undergoing treatment.

WATCH: Explained: UN lists JeM’s Masood Azhar as global terrorist

In her report she says that around 6 am, two and a half hours after the 330 am IAF airstrike, an army unit from their camp in Shinkiari arrived at the camp.

“Immediately after the Army unit arrival, the injured were taken to a Harkat-ul-Mujahideen camp, located in Shinkiari and treated by Pakistan Army doctors. Local sources say around 45 persons are still undergoing treatment in this camp, while around 20 have died during treatment due to serious injuries. Those who have recovered are still in custody of the Army and have not been discharged,” she writes.

In her report, titled, “Balakot: more details revealed”, she also suggests that in order to prevent news of the fatalities from leaking through statements of family members of the killed cadres, a JeM group visited the families of those killed and “handed over cash compensation to them”.

In her report, Marino quotes sources as saying that a freshly painted signboard at the foothill from where one starts the trek to the JeM camp indicates the presence of the Taleem-ul-Quran on the hilltop.

“Unlike the earlier board, all links to JeM leader and now internationally proscribed terrorist Masood Azhar has been removed,” she claims, further saying that the camp area is still under the Army’s control and that access to the dust track leading to the camp is still restricted, even to the local police.

Apart from a few children and 3-4 teachers, the camp has been cleared of any traces of it earlier being a JeM camp.

She also indicates that the JeM leadership has assured its cadres that the group “will take its revenge when the time is ripe.”