India claims to have struck biggest JeM training camp
Published: 01:24 PM, 26 February 2019 Updated: 01:49 PM, 26 February 2019
Indian Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale; Photo: Collected
Indian Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale claimed that the country’s air force struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot.
Gokhale said, “A large number of JeM terrorists were killed and the ‘strike avoided civil casualties’.”
VK Gokhale said this while addressing a press conference in New Delhi, India.
Earlier on Tuesday, Inter-Services Public Relations’ (ISPR) Major-General Asif Ghafoor said that Indian military planes violated the Line of Control (LoC), intruding from the Muzaffarabad sector.
He said, “Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot.”
“Credible Intel [intelligence] was received that JeM was planning more suicide attacks in India,” alleged the Indian official. “In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.”
“Top commanders were eliminated in the strike,” he said, adding that the action took place just hours ago.
However, Balakot police chief Saghir Hussain Shah told The Associated Press that he had sent teams to the area which he described as a mostly deserted wooded area who found “no casualties, no damages on the ground because of the dropping of the bombs”.
“Information has been provided to Pakistan from time to time [...]But Pakistan has taken no concrete action,” Gokhale alleged.
The purported ‘action’ by India comes only days after Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his offer that if India provides Pakistan with “actionable intelligence” regarding the February 14 attack in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama, “We will immediately act”.
According to Gokhale, “This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM.”
He, however, did not provide any evidence to back claims of the alleged camp being destroyed.
Prior to the press conference, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security met at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence in New Delhi, Asian News International reported.
According to Indian media reports, Modi briefed Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu after the meeting. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has also called an all-parties meeting at 5:00 pm (India time).
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