IAF Air Strike: Nearly 2 weeks after the deadly Pulwama Attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred, a group of Indian fighter jets have dropped 1000 kilogram bombs on terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC) on the morning of February 26, 2019. The operation reportedly took place in the wee hours of the morning, around 3: 30 am.

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Indian Air Force (IAF) Strike: As it happened

IAF Air Strike

  • Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter planes struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp across the Line of Control in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtoonwa early on Tuesday morning, as per intelligence sources.
  • The Indian Air Force reportedly employed 12 Mirage-2000 jets with laser-guided bombs causing about 200-300 estimated casualties.
  • A training camp of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is believed to have carried out the suicide attack in Pulwama, was destroyed.
  • The targeted terror camp was headed by Yusuf Azhar, brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar.
  • As per sources, terror launchpads in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad are completely destroyed, which include the JeM control rooms and Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen camps.
  • Notably, Balakot is a town under the province of Khyber Pakhtoonwa and falls under PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). It is about 50 kilometres from the LoC and acts as a de facto border between India and Pakistan which have fought three wars since their independence from British Colonial Rule in the year 1947.
  • The government stated that the terror camps were located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence.
  • Notably, the laser-guided bombs used in the IAF Air Strike were first used in the Kargil war and are built with Israeli technology.
  • The Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the international border and the Line of Control, a news agency reported.

PM Narendra Modi chairs a high-level security meeting post IAF Strike

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security met on the morning of February 26, 2019 at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi post the IAF Air Strike in Pakistan.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were present at the meeting.
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials of the Prime Minister’s office and the security apparatus were present at the meeting, as per official sources.
  • PM Modi has briefed both President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu about the action.
  • Sources say that the strikes were 100 per cent successful” and went on “exactly as planned.”
  • The operation has also garnered strong political support across the board. Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “I salute the pilots of the IAF”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote in his tweet “I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud…”.

IAF Air Strike: Pakistan alleges Indian airforce violated LoC, dropped ‘payload’

  • An hour after the attack, Pakistani establishment emerged with a public statement claiming India dropped a payload (bomb) at Balakot without causing damage. The allegations come amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama Attack.
  • Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzaffarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the army, said in a tweet.
  • There has been no immediate response from India, however, it is expected to release a statement shortly.

Pakistan retaliates by violating ceasefire attack across multiple locations at LoC

  • After the Surgical Strike 2.0, which destroyed terror camps and launchpads in Balakot, Pakistan has retaliated by violating ceasefire at multiple locations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the border. 
  • As per reports, Pakistan violated ceasefire at Kanachak sector in Jammu and Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Hours after the pre-dawn strike, Indian Army tweets a powerful poem

  • Hours after the IAF Air Strike which hit terror camps inside Pakistan and eliminated around 300 terrorists including top terrorist commanders, the Indian Army tweeted a Hindi poem which says that “if you are docile and polite before the enemy, he may consider you as a coward, the way Kauravas treated Pandavas.”
  • The poem by Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ was tweeted by Additional Director General, Public Information on its official handle.

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