Within just 12 days after the Pulwama terror attacks in which over 40 Indian soldiers were killed, India gave a befitting reply to Pakistan by an air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in which a large number of terrorists in PoK got killed.
For the attacks, the IAF used the latest version of 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets to drop more than 1000 kg of bombs at around 3.30 am on Tuesday morning destroying terror base camps in Balakot.
The foreign secretary confirmed that Tuesday’s attack was in response to the February 14 suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama districted carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad that killed 40 Indian soldiers.
“On 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pak based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad, leading to the martyrdom of 40 brave jawans of the CRPF.,” he added.
Here’s why India’s air strike in Balakot is a significant blow to JeM
First and biggest camp of JeM
Balakot, located in the Pakistan province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was the largest camp of Jaish. It was completely destroyed in Tuesday’s airstrike by IAF, which could turn out to be a significant blow to the terrorist organization. Apart from being the largest one, the JeM camp in Balakot was the first one set-up by Maulana Masood Azhar. Azhar formed the camp in Balakot after being released in by India in 1999 in the wake of Kandahar passenger plane hijack. The JeM base camp in Balakot had been in operation since 2001.
Large of Numbers of terrorists eliminated
“A large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and a group of jihadis were eliminated in the operation,” said India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, hours after news of the airstrike broke.
According to sources as many as 300 terrorists and their handlers were killed in the air strikes conducted by IAF. Gokhale however, did not confirm the official number of casualties.
Next suicide attack negated
“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,” said Gokhale, confirming that the airstrikes eliminated the terrorists who were planning another Pulwama-like suicide terror attack in India.
India’s deepest penetration
IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighter jets entered 80 km into Pakistan province, going well-beyond the LoC to conduct the airstrikes at Balakot. This was till date, India’s deepest successful penetration in their quest to destroy terror base camps in Pakistan. That Balakot is only 64 km away from Abbottabad, where Osama bin Laden was killed, also speaks about the importance of the place.
Blow to JeM chief Masood Azhar
The facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM.