Indian minister claims early morning strike destroyed a militant camp across the Line of Control
Pakistan said on Tuesday that Indian warplanes crossed into its airspace over the ceasefire line in Kashmir and dropped payloads, after tensions spiked between the neighbors over the disputed region.
“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control,” Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted, referring to the de facto border between Indian-occupied and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan Air Force jets were scrambled in response to the incursion, Ghafoor said. “Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force [the Indian aircraft] released payload in haste while escaping near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”
He did not provide further information on the location, and whether it was a town of that name in Pakistan-administered Kashmir or further into its territory.
Ghafoor tweeted images of what he said was the payload, showing what appeared to be pieces of metal in a heavily forested area.
“Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC and completely destroyed it,” claimed India’s minister of state for agriculture, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, in English on Twitter, referring to the Line of Control. Shekhawat’s comments, the first from the government on reports about a raid in Pakistan-controlled territory, come nearly two weeks after a suicide bomb attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir in which 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed.
Indian news reports said that air force jets hit multiple targets including camps run by Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Islamist group that claimed the Feb. 14 suicide attack in Kashmir that sent tensions soaring.
“Top government sources said that there were nearly 200 casualties from the [Indian Air Force] strike,” private broadcaster CNN News 18 claimed.
New Delhi had threatened to retaliate after the deadliest attack in three decades in Kashmir killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries. Islamabad has said it had nothing to do with the attack, and warned it will retaliate if India launches any strike.
JeM is one of several anti-Indian groups fighting in Kashmir, which has been claimed by both India and Pakistan since independence in 1947. They have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan territory.
Pakistan’s interior ministry announced last week that authorities had seized control of a complex believed to be the JeM headquarters.