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Where is Balakot and why was it IAF's target for surgical strike 2.0?

Here are all the details as to why did the Indian Air Force (IAF) target Balakot for the second surgical strike and why was it so important to strike Balakot immediately.

India TV News Desk Written by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: February 26, 2019 17:23 IST
A view of Pakistani village Balakot, Pakistan 
Image Source : AP

A view of Pakistani village Balakot, Pakistan 

Where is Balakot?

Balakot is a town, located in Pakistan. It is known for being hub of jihadi militants and has been named in several Indian and international terror investigations. It is around 50 kilometres Abbottabad, famous for housing Osama bin laden after 9/11 attacks. You can locate the place by searching 'Balakot' on Google Maps. Don't be mistaken as there is a place known as Balakot in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well. But the surgical strike was carried out was in a town known as Balakot which is in the Mansehra district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. 

India Tv - Balakot is located in Pakistan

Image Source : AP

Balakot is located in Pakistan

Why did the IAF target Balakot?

The Indian Air Force (IAF) targeted Balakot because it had the biggest camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group, which was 80 km from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or PoK. 

Over 300 terrorists were taken down when the Indian Air Force fighter jets dropped 1,000 kg bombs on the vast terror training facility at Balakot, which was the hub of suicide attack training, said government sources.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the media the "intelligence-led operation" on the Pakistan-based terror group's biggest training camp in Balakot became "absolutely necessary" as it was planning more suicide attacks in India, after the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed. The JeM claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.

The Balakot camp, was located in the thick forests and on a hilltop, was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, or Ustad Gouri, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar.

In the surgical strike, Yousuf Azhar, who headed the Balakot-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp, was among the terrorists killed by Indian fighter jets in a pre-dawn strike Tuesday. Azhar, who was the brother-in-law of Jaish chief Masood Azhar, was also wanted by the CBI in the IC-814 hijacking case with a pending Interpol red corner notice against him since 2000.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out air strikes against JeM terror camps in the wee hours of Tuesday. 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets of the IAF carried out the air strikes for forty minutes in which JeM’s alpha-3 control room was completely destroyed. Pakistan Army has confessed the incursion by the IAF jets but denied any loss of life or property. 

According to India TV sources, the Balakot camp destroyed by the IAF was operated as a boarding school by the terrorist outfit. It had conference halls, parade ground, swimming pool, gymnasium and used to hold school-like activities. India TV has accessed the list of terrorists who are believed to have been killed in the IAF strike earlier today. 

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