The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan, which was completely destroyed by Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000 fighter jets in a daring pre-dawn operation on Tuesday, was the biggest training camp of JeM.
The terror camp located on a hilltop amidst thick forest was an advanced training centre where suicide bombers were trained. Intelligence sources said that Balakot was an important training center for JeM and other Pakistan-based terror groups.
Spread over an area of around 6 acre, the terror camp had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities. JeM and other terror groups used this camp for battle inoculation.
Sources added that before the inception of JeM under the leadership of Maulana Masood Azhar, the camp in Balakot was also used by banned terror group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Azhar and other senior terrorists used to visit this terror camp regularly to deliver inspirational lectures to new recruits.
Since the camp was situated on Kunhar river, it was a perfect place for the terrorists to undertake aquatic training. At least 300 terrorists were present inside the camp when IAF's Mirage 2000 dropped bombs on it. Most of the trainers were ex-army personnel, said sources.
ANI reported that at this camp terrorists were given the advanced Daura e Khaas training in weapons, explosives and field tactics, tactics for attacking security forces convoys, planting and making IEDs, preparations for suicide bombing, rigging vehicles for suicide attacks and survival tactics in high altitudes and extreme-stress situations.
JeM specialises in suicide attacks and the primary focus of this terror group is religious indoctrination and ideological brainwashing of its recruits.
Some close relatives of Masood Azhar were trained at Balakot in advanced weapons and tactics.
The IAF carried out multiple airstrikes at the terror camp on Tuesday, decimating JeM's control rooms, an ammunition depot and some other infrastructure.
A suicide bomber owing allegiance to JeM was involved in February 14's terror attack, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel. The ghastly attack had led to outrage across the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to punish those involved in the attack.
(with ANI inputs)