Satellite imagery of Jabba top where IAF targeted Jaish-e-Mohammed camps in Pakistan's Balakot in February 2019 | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) | ThePrint
Satellite imagery of Jabba top where IAF targeted Jaish-e-Mohammed camps in Pakistan's Balakot in February 2019 | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd) | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Italian journalist Francesca Marino has claimed that the air strikes conducted by India in Pakistan’s Balakot killed anywhere between “130 and 170” Jaish-e-Mohammed “cadre”.

In a blog written Tuesday, Marino claimed some had died later during treatment, and 45 people were still undergoing treatment after the attack.

Marino’s claims come more than two months after the Indian Air Force conducted air strikes in Balakot on 26 February, 12 days after a suicide attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, killed 40 CRPF personnel.

The strikes and the subsequent listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council have become a major poll plank for the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Marino’s Twitter bio describes her as a journalist, writer, specialist of South Asia and author of Apocalypse Pakistan with B. Natale. She has appeared on several Indian news channels to speak on Balakot. Days after the attacks, she had claimed that the Pakistan Army carried away 35 bodies from Balakot after the strikes.

The claims

In Tuesday’s blog, Marino claimed she had gathered the information from her sources, despite “Pakistan’s efforts to deceive the world on the Indian airstrikes” on the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp.

She wrote that the IAF strike was carried out at around 3.30 am.

“According to my information, an Army unit, from their camp in Shinkiari, arrived at the location of the strike on 26 February at around 6 am, two-and-a-half hours later,” she claimed. “Shinkiari is around 20 km away from Balakot… (and) is also a base of the Pakistan Army, with the Junior Leaders Academy (JLA) located there.”


Also read: First satellite images show likely damage to Jaish Balakot camp but no massive destruction


Marino wrote that immediately after the Army unit’s arrival, the injured were taken to a Harkat-ul-Mujahideen camp located in Shinkiari, and treated by Pakistan Army doctors.

“Local sources say around 45 persons are still undergoing treatment in this camp, while around 20 have died during treatment due to serious injuries. Those who have recovered are still in custody of the Army and have not been discharged,” she claimed.

“Based on the different inputs that have been gathered over the last several weeks through my contact, it can now also be safely said that the impact of the strike immediately killed a large number of JeM cadres. The numbers estimated have ranged from 130-170, including those who have died during treatment. Those killed included 11 trainers, ranging from bomb makers to those imparting weapons training.”


Also read: New Balakot images show 3 clear IAF Spice 2000 bomb holes in Jaish building


Cash compensation

Marino’s blog post also claimed that two of the trainers were from Afghanistan, and in order to prevent news on the fatalities leaking through statements of family members, a group of JeM members visited the families of those killed and handed over cash compensation to them.

She claimed that adjacent to the Blue Pine Hotel, located on the foothill from where one starts the trek for the JeM camp, is a freshly painted signboard that indicates the presence of the Taleem-ul-Quran on the hilltop.


Also read: Pakistan took 43 days to show media Balakot Madarsa intact, but took them to wrong place


“Unlike the earlier board, all links to JeM leader and now internationally proscribed terrorist Masood Azhar has (sic) been removed,” Marino wrote, adding that the access to the dust track leading to the camp is still restricted, even to the local police. She claimed that apart from “a few children and 3-4 teachers, the camp has been cleared of any traces of it earlier being a JeM camp”.

“There is also talk about the JeM leadership having assured its cadres that the group will take its revenge when the time is ripe,” she wrote.


Also read: Balakot proof is ‘blowin in the wind’ which Pakistan doesn’t want to see: IAF chief Dhanoa


 

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27 Comments Share Your Views

27 COMMENTS

  1. Was anyone from the families of Pakistani icons Hafiz Sayeed, Madood Azhar, Dawoods?
    Pakistani awaam will have to a call.

  2. Not sure about the journalist but definitely Pakistan’s spokespersons who came up with gems like Pakistan won all 4 wars that were initiated by India, there were no Pakistani army regulars during Kargil ( to the extent that brave soldiers were given their due after more then a decade, and mostly buried by the Indian army), one Pakistani soldier equal to multiple Indian soldiers, etc. truly need to first work on their credibility.

  3. The first I dont know why this is called a surgical strike and how it is different from a normal air strike. This report by the the Italian journalist who is not linked to any known news group was published as soon as the news of this strike broke on the media with the Foreign Secretary breaking the news and not the Defense Secretary with scanty details. The question is why is it being published again. We were told that what the foreign secretary and other ruling party members claimed was sacrosanct and could not be questioned as such questioning amounted to being unpatriotic and anti national. Which meant that the Govt. had a license to tell us that our air force crossed the borders and hit various targets in Pak and if this was supported by a briefing by the Air force chief then it was absolute truth even if there were reports from the international media to the contrary. The BBC reporters on the ground talked to the locals and their briefings were recorded on camera and they showed the craters where the bombs fell. I did not believe both reports which rely on unnamed sources or persons. But there was a satellite picture taken by the Planet which was not debunked by our air force or other people who are versed in this matter but the saving grace was that there were dark patches on the roofs which seemed to be circular holes. It was not known what the black holes were due to some interference of shadow or cloudy weather etc but it was argued and said by the Air force that they had used bunker buster bombs and the bombs went through the roofs and through the first floor and exploded on the ground floor a very controlled explosion which did not even blast the brick walls and left them completely intact to show no signs of damage to the structure. I could not understand as to why the Airforce chose to use a bunker buster bomb to enter a tin roofed structure and then not destroy the structure. A bomb with high explosive content could have been used to kill all inside and flatten the structure. But I suppose the Air force must have thought that the structure was a UN heritage structure and had to be protected or the structure was needed by the JeM to be used once again for the same operations or the IAF thought that they wanted to capture Balakot and would need the structure because it was of strategic importance. They did not clarify as to why they did not use a bomb that would damage the structure. Its a secret of national security and cant be disclosed. However then there was another satellite picture published by the European Space Agency, a agency with repute and which has no reason to support Pak against India which was a high resolution image which showed no darkened patches on the roof and absolutely no damage to the structure at all. Col. Vinayak Bhat did not comment on this image nor did anyone for the MOD. as saying they did not believe this as the Space Agency would have stood their ground and would have asked the Indians to come and view it on their systems. Then you had the Minister of External Affairs admitting that the Govt had informed all friendly nations that the strike did not kill any civilians or military personnel. She did not say that they killed terrorists who were not civilians by her definition and were also not military personnel. I do not understand what is the desire not to strike at military personnel. Is that we are absolving the Pak military of any collusion or were we plain scared of the Pakistani reaction and full scale war or was this a well organized fixed match between the Pak and our BJP Govt. that the Govt needed their help for wining the elections and so we dropped bombs in the forest and they also dropped bombs in vacant land and then both shelled each other etc and the drama was made to look real but everyone knows that it was only theatre. The point is why is the Air force being called into to do things for somebody’s electoral gains and also lie. to the people on orders from the MOD.Shameful state of affairs.

  4. These terrorists wanted to touch the feet of Allah and our Indian Army prefixed their appointments in large numbers. For this reason alone, Allah ALONG WITH the Muslim bros should be thanking the Army.😂

  5. How keen are we at getting confirmation from someone who is not even allowed in the country? She claims to have “sources”? What else? Lets clutch at straws eh?

  6. Reuters and tInternational press have no information on this strike. There us not much information on this journalist except that she has adopted an Indian child.On Google, her profile shows that she is a blacklisted journalist by Pakistan and cannot enter the country.
    Her claims haven’t been backed up by any real evidence in India or in the International press.
    That is strange,to say the least and it is mostly the Indian press that has carried her version.

    • Because, wise lady, Indians got similar news through their own news channels, and Pakistan bloked the bombed site for months from foreign media for renovation.

      Pakistanis are known and internationally proven liars, no body believes them.

  7. Good. Let’s ask her to investigate Mumbai attack. Really which countries were involved and their motives.

  8. I congratulate Pakistan for bearing the massacre of about 200 of its citizens and loss of properties , only to save it’s ego and pride and avoiding further confrontation with India. A nice move !!!

    • Faking minds see fakes everywhere, just like themselves, however, the world moves on without these dumbs.

  9. nobody’s buying your pasta !! A wishful and comic thinking.. yet India could not show the debris !!! Lols!!!

    • Debris?? So we hv to show those bullet riddled half burnt bodies to terrorists who are already in Pakistan??? LOL…hv some guys and ask your army about the terrorist

    • Pakistan blocked the bombed site for months from foreign media for playing hockey with Police / military OR for hiding from world & damage renovation.

  10. There are many in India, specially Modi basher doubt the strike itself and even its success. Why Pakistan local police not allowed by military is in itself army leadership of Pakistan hiding a lot.

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