In a "non-military, pre-emptive" strike by the Indian Air Force across the Line of Control, a major Pakistani-based terror camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed was destroyed, the government said on Tuesday, February 26. The IAF used 12 Mirage aircraft and dropped 1000 kilograms of bombs on the terror launch pads across Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The town of Balakot which was struck by the Indian Air Force on the morning of February 26 is in Mansehra District in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
Here are 10 things to know about the IAF air strike:
● At 3:30 am, Indian Air Force (IAF) jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) to destroy Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camps in Pakistan. The air strike was carried out at Balakot sector.
● The 21-minute swift attack was carried out using twelve Mirage 2000 fighter jets that crossed the LoC and dropped 1,000 kg bombs on terrorist camps. As per reports, three control rooms of JeM were destroyed in Balakot, Chakoti and Muzzafarabad. Opposition leaders lauded the IAF after cross-LoC airstrikes were reported. Around 300 terrorists have been killed in the air strike.
● Earlier morning on Tuesday, Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor alleged that the IAF violated the LoC. Ghafoor tweeted that the Indian aircrafts intruded into Pakistan from the Muzafarabad sector and dropped payloads in Balakot sector.
● When one country decides to violate the other country's airspace, it is termed as an – act of war. India not just crossed LoC, it attacked Pakistan. The last time IAF crossed the LoC and used the Mirage aircraft was during the 1971 war. Even during the 1999 Kargil war, the IAF had not crossed over to the LoC. Today, it went deep inside the territory of Pakistan to destroy terror camps.
● Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, and senior commanders were eliminated after India's strike on Pakistan. He said the camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar (reportedly killed), the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar.
● Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has confirmed that IAF jets crossed the LoC today. In the first official response from Pakistan, Qureshi said Pakistan had an inkling that India would do something of this sort. Pakistan termed the airstrike by IAF as a breach of LoC and said this was "grave aggression".
● Taking to Twitter, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asif Ghafoor, claimed that no infrastructure was damaged and the payload of the "hastily escaping Indian aircrafts fell in open". He also claimed that the Indian fighter jets only managed to get into three-four miles of the Pakistani territory.
● Hours after conducting a surgical strike on Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the nation was "in safe hands" at a rally in Rajasthan. "Main desh hain rukne doonga, main desh nahin jhukne doonga," PM Modi said. The Prime Minister was greeted with thundering acclaim as he said that he will not let the country down.
● At least 325 terrorists and 25 to 27 trainers were at the camp that was targetted by the IAF. Hundreds of fidayeen and their trainers were shifted from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to a five-star, resort-style camp in a hilltop forest in Balakot after the Pulwama attack, killing up to 350 terrorists.
● Responding to the air strike by IAF, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country would choose the time and place to hit back to the aerial strike to what he called "uncalled-for aggression" by India. But he also asked his compatriots to prepare for "all eventualities".
The attack comes 12 days after the Pakistan-based terror outfit claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in south Kashmir's Pulwama that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) paramilitary troopers.