WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Mar 02, 2019, 10.12 PM
An Italian journalist has told WION that between 40 to 50 people were killed in the Indian air strikes on Pakistan's Balakot on Tuesday night. The air strikes — carried out by Mirage 2000s — Indian authorities have said, targeted a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp.
Reports in the Indian media had earlier said the death toll may have been as high as 350.
The Pakistanis had said there had been no deaths at all.
The journalist — Francesca Marino — told WION that she had got confirmation from her source that the death toll was between 40 and 50, and the wounded between 35 to 40.
She told WION's Bhairavi Singh her source was a person living in the area.
"Yesterday I've got confirmations... 100% reliable confirmations," Marino, who was speaking from Rome, told WION.
Marino said her source told her ambulances arrived at the site after the air strikes, that the cellphones of the ambulance staff were taken away, and that at least 35 bodies were carried away (see video above).
She added that the dead included 12 young trainees of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group who had all been sleeping in the same area.
And that they included a retired Pakistani Army colonel and another colonel. (Marino wrote Saturday morning in an Indian newspaper that "a former Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer known locally as 'Colonel Salim' was killed in the bombing, while a 'Colonel Zarar Zakri' was injured.")
Marino told WION that the dead included a JeM trainer called Mufti Moeen, and a bomb expert called Usman Ghani.
Marino added that "the population there is very scared, it is very difficult to get evidence out of there" but that "I am confident I will also get some video proof".
Marino's Twitter handle describes her as a South Asia specialist and a co-author of the book 'Apocalypse Pakistan'.
The Pakistanis have so far said there were no deaths at all.