Yusuf Azhar bombed in Balakot air strike was Kandahar hijacker

Indian air force-fighter jet
Yusuf Azhar bombed in Balakot air strike was Kandahar hijacker

27 February, 2019

Hours after the pre-dawn offensive on Pakistan-based terror camps, the Government said on Tuesday said that "India has struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot eliminating a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commander and jihadis in the operation".

Ghafoor said "facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force", the Indian aircraft "released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot".

With national elections due by May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been under pressure to demonstrate a muscular, military response to the Kashmir terror attack, which was the deadliest in 20 years.

Analysts have alleged Pakistani militants have their training camps in the area, although Pakistan has always denied the presence of any such camps.

"There are no casualties, there are no damages on the ground because of the dropping of the bombs", he said.

Pakistan has done nothing to dismantle terror mechanism there, Gokhale said.

It was the deepest cross-border attack launched by India since the last of its three wars with Pakistan in 1971, when the two nations fought over Bangladesh's independence.

Yusuf Azhar bombed in Balakot air strike was Kandahar hijacker
Yusuf Azhar bombed in Balakot air strike was Kandahar hijacker

Mr Modi has been under pressure to retaliate since the suicide auto bombing in Kashmir's Pulwama, which India alleges was orchestrated by Pakistan's intelligence agency, and tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours have escalated in recent days.

Four people, including two children, have been killed and seven others wounded in an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops in Pakistan-administered Kashmir's district of Kotli, officials said. Though Foreign Secretary called it non-military action, it is a step I was expecting that the government will take a long time ago.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that "better sense" should prevail, warning India not to challenge Pakistan. At around 3.30 am, a group of Mirage 2000 fighter jets carried out airstrikes on terrorist camps located across the LoC and that around 1,000 kgs of bombs had been dropped.

CSIS also said Pakistan's missile programme, which is built with help from China, includes mobile short- and medium-range weapons that can reach any part of India.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected India's claim, branding it "self serving, reckless and fictitious". He said there were no casualties and refused to discuss India's incursion into Pakistan. India has demanded that Jaish-e-Mohammad's leader, Azhar Masood, be listed as a terrorist by the United Nations, but that has been stymied by China.

Islamabad has said it had nothing to do with the attack, and warned it will retaliate if India launches any strike.

Shelling across the Line of Control has occurred frequently over the past few years but airspace incidents are extremely rare.

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