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Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar admits IAF airstrikes targeted terror camp in Balakot

Talha Saif is Maulana Masood Azhar's brother and is said to be the head of the preparation wing.  Ammar is believed to be responsible for several attacks in Kashmir and Afghanistan. 

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar admits IAF airstrikes targeted terror camp in Balakot
File photo

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar on Tuesday confirmed that the air strikes took place at the terror camp of JeM at Balakot. Azhar, however, tried to save Pakistan's face by claiming that air strikes didn't cause any damage to his cadre or family members.

Key JeM terrorists were targetted in the air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force on their training camp in Balakot in a daring pre-dawn operation on Tuesday. ANI reported that Maulana Ammar, Maulana Talha Saif, Mufti Azhar Khan Kashmiri and Ibrahim Azhar were among the 300 terrorists who were targetted by the IAF in the strike. 

The report, however, did not confirm that all these senior JeM figures were killed in the strike or not. Talha Saif is Maulana Masood Azhar's brother and is said to be the head of the preparation wing.  Ammar is believed to be responsible for several attacks in Kashmir and Afghanistan. 

Ibrahim Azhar is the elder brother of Masood Azhar and was involved in IC-814 hijacking in 1999, while Mufti Azhar Khan Kashmiri is believed to be the head of Kashmir operations of the Pakistan-based terror group.

In a swift and precise airstrike, dubbed by many as Surgical Strike 2.0, 12 Mirage 2000's fighter jets of IAF bombed and destroyed Jaish's biggest training camp in Balakot, eliminating several terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.

Giving details of the operation at a press conference in New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said credible intelligence was received that the JeM was planning to carry out other suicide attacks in India after the Pulwama bombing.

"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," Gokhale remarked.

Gokhale also said India had been providing to Islamabad the "location of terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir" from time to time. But Pakistan kept denying their existence. He said that such 'massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jehadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistani authorities.'