New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed terror camps in Pakistan, sources said. The air strike was carried out in Balakot sector at 3.30 am.
Sources said ten Mirage 2000 aircraft dropped 1,000 kg bombs on terrorist camps across the LoC. As per sources, three control rooms of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) were destroyed in Balakot, Chakoti and Muzzafarabad.
Sources have also said that the Indian intelligence agencies were monitoring as many as 13 launch pads for the last few days. These caps include the one destroyed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Balakot.
Foreign Secretary Gokhale at a press briefing said, ''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. JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades, and is led by MASOOD AZHAR with its headquarters in Bahawalpur.
''This organization, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible of a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016.
''Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities.
''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.
''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.
''In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, Chief of JeM.
''The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. Hence this non-military preemptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details.
''The Government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions.''
The strike by the Indian forces comes in less than two weeks after the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir by the Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM where 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said on Twitter: "Wow, if this is true this was not a small strike by any stretch of imagination but will wait for official word, should any be forthcoming."
On Tuesday, Pakistan Major General Asif Ghafoor alleged that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had violated the Line of Control (LoC).
"Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage," Ghafoor tweeted.