Upto 170 Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were killed in Balakot air strikes, says foreign journalist
Francesca Marino, a foreign journalist, has confirmed that up to 170 terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group were killed in the Indian Air Force air strikes on February 26. Marino earlier in an article wrote that eyewitnesses present at the site of India's February 26 bomb strikes against a JeM base saw up to 35 bodies were being transported out of the the site by ambulance hours after the attack. The dead, they recounted, included 12 men who were said to have been sleeping in a single temporary shack, and several individuals who had earlier served in Pakistan's military.
“Based on the different inputs that have been gathered over the last several weeks through my contact, it can now also be safely said that the impact of the strike immediately killed a large number of JeM cadres. The numbers estimated have ranged from 130-170, including those who have died during treatment. Those killed included 11 trainers, ranging from bomb makers to those imparting weapons training. Two of these trainers were from Afghanistan,” Marino said in stringerasia.it
“To prevent news on the fatalities leaking through statements of family members of cadres, a group of JeM members also visited the families of those killed and handed over cash compensation to them,” she added.
The IAF had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training camp in Pakistan on February 26, in response to the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Marino's report came days after JeM chief Masood Azhar was listed as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council’s Sanctions Committee after China lifted its technical hold. The report said the Indian Air Force bombed the JeM camp at 3.30 am on February 26, 2019, a unit of the Pakistan Army reached the spot at around 6 am. The Pakistan Army unit came from their camp in Shinkiari, located some 20 kilometres away.
"Adjacent to the Blue Pine Hotel, located on the foothill from where one starts the trek for the JeM camp, is a freshly painted signboard that indicates the presence of the Taleem-ul-Quran on the hilltop. Unlike the earlier board, all links to JeM leader and now internationally proscribed terrorist Masood Azhar has been removed. The camp area is still under the control of the Army, with a Captain rank officer of the Mujahid battalion in command," the report added.
The access to the dust track leading to the camp is still restricted, even to the local police. Apart from a few children and 3-4 teachers, the camp has been cleared of any traces of it earlier being a JeM camp, according to the report.