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IAF hits main Jaish camp deep across LoC in Balakot, 200-300 killed: Sources

The IAF used Mirage-2000 jets with laser-guided 1,000 pound bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300, the sources said.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2019 12:58 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Air force,Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,Pakistan
The strike comes almost two weeks after a terror attack killed 40 CRPF troopers in Pulwama in south Kashmir that raised tensions between India and Pakistan.(PTI File Photo/Representative image)

Indian Air Force fighter planes dropped laser-guided bombs at a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp well across the Line of Control in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa’s Balakote early on Tuesday morning, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Tuesday.

The IAF used Mirage-2000 jets with laser-guided 1,000 pound bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300, the sources said. The laser guided bombs are built with Israeli technology and were first used in Kargil. The air strike happened around 3.30 am.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale described the strike as “a non-military pre-emptive action”.

Watch: ‘Air Force bombed JeM’s biggest camp in Pakistan’: Foreign Secretary

Union Minister Prakash Javdekar said the action, which comes almost two weeks after a terror attack killed 40 CRPF jawans in Jammu and Kashmir, was a “necessary step”. (Live updates)

“Our army has demonstrated extreme bravery”, said Union Minister Prakash Javdekar in the first comment by a senior government functionary on the cross-border strike.

“The entire country is standing with the armed forces, he said, around the same time Prime Minister Narendra Modi met senior ministers and advisors for a review at a top security meet.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has welcomed the cross border action. In a tweet, he said “I salute the IAF pilots”.

According to top government sources, the Balakote camp is spread around 6 to 7 acres and is the biggest Jaish e Mohammed camp in Pakistan.

A top intelligence source confirmed the strike at one of the biggest Jaish e Mohammed camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. According to analysts, the strike confirmed that India will deploy full spectrum deterrence if hit by a terror strike by Pakistan based terrorist group.

“The Modi government made it clear from Uri 2016 that every terror strike will be met with a retaliation,” said a top diplomat. “The question in the past was should we or should we not. Now it is when where and how”.

The attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers in Pulwama in south Kashmir had raised tensions between India and Pakistan. The suicide bombing had led to calls for punitive strikes against Pakistan for harbouring terrorists.

Pakistan’s Director General of Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan, Asif Ghafoor, tweeted, “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”

Read more| ‘Necessary step taken’: Prakash Javadekar on IAF strike at terror camps across LoC

First Published: Feb 26, 2019 10:58 IST