The foreign ministry on Tuesday said that India carried out preemptive, non-military action on the biggest Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp located in Balakot in Pakistan. Many JeM leaders and trainers were eliminated in the strike.
The government did not reveal the details, but reports said that in the wee hours of Tuesday, a group of Mirage 2000 Indian fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it, reported ANI quoting Indian Air Force sources. The strikes are said to have taken place in Balakot, which 40 km from Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
This is the first time the Indian Air Force has crossed into the Pak air space since 1971.
The air strike, which has been dubbed surgical strikes 2.0, comes 12 days after terror attack on CRPF convoy in which 40 soldiers lost their lives in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.
“12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation that dropped 1000 Kg bombs on terror camps across LoC, completely destroying it”, it further reported.
08:20 PM, Feb 26: Pakistan summons the acting High Commissioner of India over the attacks carried out by India on the JeM terrorist camp in Balakot. The message was ‘Islamabad will give a befitting response at a time and place of its choosing.’
08:15 PM, Feb 26: PM Modi meets all three service chiefs and congratulated them for the strike and the team work
07:45 PM, Feb 26: Pak Cinema Exhibitors Association said that it has boycotted Indian content, no Indian movie will be released in Pakistan. Also have instructed PEMRA to act against made in India advertisements.
06:45 PM, Feb 26: All party meeting held today. EAM Sushma Swaraj informed the leaders that she spoke to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo over the air strikes on JeM terror camps in Balakot.
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) February 26, 2019
06:30 PM, Feb 26: Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress after all-party meet: We have appreciated the efforts by the forces, they always have our support to end terrorism. Another good thing is that it was a clean operation which specifically targeted terrorists and terror camps.
05:20 PM Feb 26: All-party meeting called by EAM Sushma Swaraj at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan starts
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) February 26, 2019
05:10 PM, Feb 26: Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne: Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned.
04:59 PM, Feb 26: Ram Madhav, BJP National General Secretary: After Pulwama attack, the nation was mourning for 12 days and on the 13th day our valiant Air-force paid the real tribute to the martyred soldiers by destroying terror training camps deep inside Pakistan territory.
04:20 PM, Feb 26, Tuesday: Punjab has put its border districts on high alert in the wake of the IAF strikes across the LoC, undertaken by India as a retaliatory measure in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh holds a high-level meeting with state minister Manpreet Badal and senior officials in the wake of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) strikes on JeM terror camps in Balakot.
03:48 PM, Feb 26: A total of six bombs were dropped on Pakistan based terrorist camps by the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s, govt sources told ANI.
03:22 PM, Feb 26: Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) after a meeting chaired by Pakistan PM Imran Khan today: India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing.
03:20 PM, Feb 26: Red-faced Pakistan resorts to old antics, says “Forum strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again Indian government has resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim”
Red faced Pakistan resorts to old antics, says “Forum strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again Indian government has resorted to a self serving, reckless and fictitious claim”#IndiaStrikesBack pic.twitter.com/22nKK2EDHn
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) February 26, 2019
02:52 PM, Feb 26 : Top government sources: Two planes were used to divert Pak radar
02:35 PM, Feb 26: Key JeM operatives targeted in today’s air strikes: Mufti Azhar Khan Kashmiri, head of Kashmir operations (pic 1) and Ibrahim Azhar (pic 2), the elder brother of Masood Azhar who was also involved in the IC-814 hijacking
Maulana Ammar (in pic 1, associated with Afghanistan and Kashmir ops) and Maulana Talha Saif (pic 2), brother of Maulana Masood Azhar and head of preparation wing
02:26 PM, Feb 26- “This was an intelligence based counter terror strike not a military action for sake of war. Have demolished entire terror set up in the suicide bombing training centre in Balakot, and over 300 terrorists were eliminated in the covert operation by Indian Air Force”, sources told ANI.
02:15 PM, Feb 26: Picture of JeM facility destroyed by Indian Ar Force strikes in Balakot, Pakistan
01:30 PM Feb 26, Tuesday: Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law JeM’s Yusuf Azhar alias Mohammad Salim alias Ustaad Gohri who was targeted today by IAF air strike in Balakot across LOC was on the Interpol list and among the most wanted in India.
01:00 PM Feb 26, Tuesday: Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress on IAF strike at JeM camp across LoC: We’ve always said that whatever action the forces take for the protection of this nation, all of us will support them in unity, they are taking action against the terrorists in Pakistan. I congratulate them
12:48 PM Feb 26, Tuesday:: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has called an all-party meeting at 5pm today.
12:45 PM Feb 26, Tuesday: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi: This was grave aggression by India against Pakistan. This is a violation of LoC and Pakistan has the right to retaliate and self defence.
12:35 PM Feb 26, Tuesday: Indian Army has shot down a Pakistani spy drone in Abdasa village, in Kutch, Gujarat. Army and police personnel present at the spot. The Pakistani drone was shot down by a ‘Derby’ missile from Israeli air defence system SPYDER. First time system used to target enemy aircraft.
12:30 PM Feb 26, Tuesday: NSA Ajit Doval along with Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat and IAF Chief BS Dhanoa is reviewing the security situation on the borders after Indian Air Force strikes at JeM terror camp in Balakot across LoC.
11:32 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale addresses media: Information received that JeM is planning more terror strikes. So India took preemptive non-military action.
India struck the biggest Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot.
Large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. Camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar.
India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all measures to fight the menace of terrorism. This non-military pre-emptive action was targeted specifically at JeM camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties.
The camp was located on a hilltop, in a thick forest, away from civilian presence.
11:06 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: One of the targets destroyed by IAF Mirage jets was in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area, reports ANI. Air strikes in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region were based on locations provided by on ground intelligence sources.
10:57 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: PM reaches the Rashtrapati Bhavan for an event. Likely to address the gathering.
10:46 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s but turned back due to size of Indian formation. Western Air Command coordinated operation, ANI quotes sources as saying.
10:46 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: Meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security ends. Briefing by MEA India at 11:30 am, says Press Information Bureau
10:37 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: Prakash Javedekar minister for HRD “PM gave the Armed forces the freedom to attack. Indian Air Force has taken the necessary step for the security of the nation, entire country stands with forces.”
A day after the Feb 14 Pulwama attack the PM had said that the forces are free to choose the time and place of the reponse.
10:37 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: On radio Pakistan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan SM Qureshi warns India not to challenge Pakistan.
10:06 AM Feb 26, Tuesday: “ये मोदी का हिंदुस्तान है, घर में घुसेगा भी और मारेगा भी, Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC and Completely destroyed it एक एक क़तरा ख़ून का हिसाब होगा !ये तो एक शुरुआत है .. ये देश नहीं झुकने दूंगा…” tweeted Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India. MP (Lok Sabha) Jodhpur, National General Secretary- BJP Farmer’s Wing.
10: 06 AM, Feb 26- Radio Pakistan: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has summoned an emergency meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan. The meeting will discuss the security situation
10:02 AM, Feb 26- Delhi: Meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security underway at 7, LKM
10:02 AM, Feb 26– “Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzaffarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow,” tweets Spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor.
09:56 AM, Feb 26- Congress lauds the IAF
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 26, 2019
09:53 AM, Feb 26- Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the international border and LoC to respond to any possible action by Pakistan Air Force.
09:36 AM, Feb 26- Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweets lauding the IAF pilots.
🇮🇳 I salute the pilots of the IAF. 🇮🇳
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 26, 2019
09:29 AM, Feb 26– Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad terror launch pads across the LOC completely destroyed in IAF air strikes. JeM control rooms also destroyed, ANI reports.
09:00 AM, Feb 26- Abhishek Singhvi, National Spokesperson, Congress tweets, “Balakot which is quite far out into the LOC is a deep strike and purportedly where Hafeez Saeed gives a lot of his addresses. If IAF penetrated that deep without casualties it’s a highly successful mission.”
“Indian Air Force Strikes at Balakot don’t have official word yet but the Helter Skelter by Pakistan seems like something big has happened. The IAF has gone beyond POK & into Pakistan near their capital while they were busy counting alms received from Saudi & China”, he adds.
08:51 AM, Feb 26- Omar Abdullah tweets, “Wow, if this is true this was not a small strike by any stretch of imagination but will wait for official word, should any be forthcoming”
Wow, if this is true this was not a small strike by any stretch of imagination but will wait for official word, should any be forthcoming. https://t.co/bOFt7SXl43
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 26, 2019
08:47 AM, Feb 26– Spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted pictures of ‘Payload of hastily escaping Indian aircrafts that fell in open’.
Payload of hastily escaping Indian aircrafts fell in open. pic.twitter.com/8drYtNGMsm
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 26, 2019
Pakistan had claimed that the Indian Air Force violated the Line of Control (LoC), following which the former ‘scrambled’ immediately.
Pakistan’s claim comes in the wake of tense relations between the two countries in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow,” the Spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor, tweeted in the early hours of Tuesday.
Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 25, 2019
Following the first tweet, the Spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces later 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.”
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Editor’s Note: While NewsMobile can not independently verify the number of terrorists killed in the airstrike, the number of those killed is based on sources in the strategic and military domain.