IAF carries out airstrikes on terror camps across LoC

Pak maintains ‘payloads dropped in haste’

The allegation came amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after the February 14 suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district. (AFP File Photo for represent

As reports of Indian Air Forces (IAF) fighters carrying out a pre-dawn strike on terror camps across the Line of Control emerged, Pakistan army claimed that Indian fighter jets were forced to leave after they crossed the LoC in Muzaffarabad sector.

The strikes were carried out at around 3:30 Tuesday morning by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets, reports said. The aircraft dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on a major militant camp across the LoC, completely destroying it, news agency ANI reported, quoting Air Force sources.

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There has been no official confirmation from the Indian side so far. However, Pakistan Army claimed that the Indian military planes “intruded” from the Muzaffarabad sector but were forced to go back after Pakistan Air Force “immediately scrambled”.

Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Asif Ghafoor, said in a tweet: “Indian Air Force violated Line of Control, following which Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled and Indian aircraft went back.”

In another tweet, Ghafoor said 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 military spokesman said. Ghafoor also tweeted “pictures” of the spot where the payload hit.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have heightened since a suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy in southern Pulwama on February 14 that killed over 40 CRPF personnel.

Unconfirmed reports said that terror launch pads across the LoC in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad sectors have completely been destroyed along with JeM control rooms.

If the strikes are confirmed, this will be the first time IAF has crossed into Pakistan since 1971 war. 

Sources said army and air force have been put on high alert to counter any ‘misadventure’ from Pakistan in retaliation. 

Reacting to the strikes, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed delight and said that "if true, this was not a small strike". However, he said that he would wait for official word.

“If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & a significant strike by IAF planes. However if it’s Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it’s a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads & militant camps are empty & non-functional (sic),” Omar tweeted.

“Unless we know which Balakote is being talked about by the Pakistani generals it’s pointless speculating about what we may have hit & what fallout the airstrike will have,” he added.

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IAF carries out airstrikes on terror camps across LoC

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