In one of the biggest successes of all times, India today decimated major terror camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Balakot in early morning hours on Tuesday. Key Jaish e Mohammed terrorists targeted in today’s air strikes included Azhar Khan Kashmiri, head of Kashmir operations and Masood Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Azhar. He was also involved in the IC-814 hijacking in 1999. The Balakot terror camp was headed by Yousuf Azhar, who was the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar. Also known as Mohammed Salim, Yousuf Azhar was also one of the hijackers in the IC-814 hijacking.
The Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Kathmandu to New Delhi, with 179 passengers and 11 crew members on board, was hijacked on December 24, 1999, and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan by five hijackers, who are still absconding. The hijackers had executed one passenger, Rupin Katyal, and finally negotiated the release of terrorists Masood Azhar Alvi, Syed Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar from Indian jails on December 31, 1999, in exchange for the hostages.
Balakot is located around 80 kilometre from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, where this Jaish-e-Mohammed’s training camp was set up.
"Credible intelligence was received that JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) 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," Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a statement.
The strike comes after reports that Pakistan is shifting terrorist leaders, including Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, to safe areas after India demanded of strong action against them following the Pulwama attack on February 14, sources said. The sources added that on February 17-18, Azhar was shifted from Rawalpindi to Kot Ghani near Bahawalpur in Pakistan.
To keep Azhar and other terrorists safe, Pakistan has provided three-layer security which is guarded by local police, special forces and the Pakistan Army. The outer periphery is being guarded by the local police, while the second and third layers have been taken care of by special forces and the Pakistan Army.