It took the Indian Air Force just 19 minutes to demolish the terror camps run by Jaish-e-Mohammad across the Line of Control(LoC).
The IAF’s 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets carried out precision strikes on the terror camps in Balakot, some 24 km from Muzaffarabad. The air strikes, first of its kind in decades, were over by 3.53 am even before Pakistani jets could pose any serious challenge.
Confirming the air attack, the government termed it a non-military preemptive strike carried out on the basis of credible intelligence that JeM was planning suicide attacks in various parts of the country. The terror camp was located in a thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence, the External Affairs Ministry Secretary, Vijay Gokhale, said at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon.
The Ministry also confirmed that a large number of JeM terrorists and commanders were killed in the action. The Balakot camp was headed by terror mastermind Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Maulana Yousuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghouri.
'India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil,' the MEA said in a statement.
'Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary,' it added.
The IAF’s action comes exactly 13 days after a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama killing 40 security personnel.
A couple of days after the attack, the Prime Minister had said that security forces have been given a free hand to deal with terrorists. 'Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling…Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise,' Mr. Narendra Modi had said.