New Delhi: Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 fighter jets bombed three locations in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir early on Tuesday, top military sources told ThePrint.
They said the strikes lasted 21 minutes beginning at 3.45 am.
Balakot, which is 24 km northwest of Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK, was bombed between 3.45 am and 3.53 am. Balakot is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
Joint training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen located in Balakot were targeted, the sources said.
“They had emptied launchpads but not training camps,” one source said, referring to the terrorist infrastructure across the LoC which Pakistan uses to send terrorists to Jammu and Kashmir.
Another location in Muzaffarabad was hit between 3.48 am and 3.55 am, the sources said.
The last to be hit was Chakoti, between 3.58 am and 4.04 am, the source added.
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The Indian air strikes come in response to the Jaish suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy on 14 February which killed 40 personnel.
News of the strikes were first tweeted by Pakistan’s Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations, Major-General Asif Ghafoor.
“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control”, following which “Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled” and Indian aircraft went back, he tweeted.
He later followed it up with another tweet saying that the aircraft faced “timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force” and ended up releasing “payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot”. No casualties or damage occurred, the Pakistani military spokesperson added.
Ghafoor later tweeted pictures showing what he said was the “payload” dropped by Indian fighter jets. “Payload of hastily escaping Indian aircrafts fell in open,” he tweeted.
Data available on websites tracking planes indicated that an early warning aircraft of the IAF along with an IL-78 refueler was up in the air around the time the incident was reported.
Indian and Pakistani fighter jets have been on high alert and have been flying increased sorties since the 14 February terror attack in Pulwama in Kashmir in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
This report has been updated to indicate that Balakot is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and not in PoK.
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