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India carries out airstrikes in Pakistan, destroys terror camps

FIle photo of two Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 26, 2019, 11.03 AM (IST)

India Tuesday carried out pre-dawn airstrikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan and is believed to have destroyed terrorist targets, sources said.

The strike comes amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after the February 14 suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group in Kashmir's Pulwama district that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

Sources told that the strikes involving several fighter jets of the Indian Air Force successfully destroyed camps belonging to Pakistan-based terror outfits in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

After the air strikes, the Cabinet Committee on Security met here Tuesday morning at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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, official sources said.

Soon after the news of the strike, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday lauded the pilots of the Indian Air Force.

"I salute the pilots of the IAF," he tweeted.

Gandhi also put out the Indian flag along with his tweet.

The Congress said on its official Twitter handle, "We salute the @IAF_MCC for their consistent & determined effort to keep Indians safe. Jai Hind."
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hailed the IAF pilots for the air strikes.

In Islamabad, the Pakistan Army alleged that the Indian Air Force violated the Line of Control (LoC) in Muzafarabad sector.

"Indian aircraft intruded from Muzafarabad 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 Pakistan Army, said in a tweet.

"Indian Air Force violated Line of Control Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircraft gone back," he tweeted.

Hours later, the ISPR said Indian aircrafts' "intrusion" across the LoC in Muzafarabad Sector was within 3-4 miles in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Story highlights

The strike comes amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after the February 14 suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group in Kashmir's Pulwama district that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.