Indian Air Force Strikes Across LoC, Biggest Jaish Terror Camp Destroyed In Balakot
In the early hours of February 26, Indian fighter jets have struck at terrorist targets in Pakistan, destroying a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp. According to the Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale, India struck the biggest Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot. He further added that a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commander and groups of Jihadis were eliminated. The Indian Air Force(IAF) used 12 Mirage 2000 jets with laser-guided bombs to drop 1,000 kg of bombs on the terror camps and launch pads across the Line of Control in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, at 3.30 am reported India Today. The attack came 12 days after the deadly Pulwama attack which claimed the lives of 44 CRPF jawans. This air strike is the first ever air strike across LoC since the 1971 war.
The first official confirmation came from the Union Minister Shekhawat after he posted a tweet with a picture of a Mirage releasing a missile in the air. However, it is still unclear that the photo is of morning’s attack or not.
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…#Balakot #Surgicalstrike2 pic.twitter.com/fqYJgWxuqX
— Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (@gssjodhpur) February 26, 2019
The Pakistan army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor took to Twitter to announce that there were no casualties and no damage of properties. He further said that the IAF violated the Line of Control, by intruding from Muzaffarabad sector and dropped a payload near Balakot.
Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad 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.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 26, 2019
However, the Hindustan Times reported that the estimated casualty caused by the attacks were 200-300. According to ANI report, Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s, but due to the size of Indian formation, they turned back. Pakistani drone was also shot down on the Kutch border.
Soon after the news broke, members from opposition parties have congratulated IAF for carrying out such an attack. Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader appreciated the pilots of the IAF.
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal too saluted the IAF pilots.
I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud by striking terror targets in Pakistan
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 26, 2019
After being briefed about the airstrike by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired an emergency meeting with the Cabinet Committee on Security.
On High Alert
After the attack, The 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. The Air Force Station Chandigarh, Air Commodore S Srinivasan has said that air defence measures are in place at the Chandigarh air base. He further noted that all airfields of IAF were on enhanced alert after Pulwama terror attack.