Sleeping Jaish Camp at Balakot in Pakistan Was 'Sitting Duck' Target for IAF, Say Sources
India received intelligence that JeM had shifted many in-training terrorists and hardcore operatives, along with their trainers, to the Balakot camp, which has facilities for 500 to 700 people.
- Last Updated: February 26, 2019, 22:59 IST
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New Delhi: Balakot was a “sitting duck target” for the Indian forces that carried out an air strike in Pakistani territory early on Tuesday, sources have told CNN-News18.
Hundreds of Fidayeen and their trainers were shifted from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to a five-star, resort-style camp in a hilltop forest in Balakot after the Pulwama attack, providing Indian forces with "a sitting duck target", sources said.
They said at least 325 terrorists and 25 trainers were at the camp, the biggest operated by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group, which had claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir, that killed 40 jawans.
Sources said everyone at the camp was sleeping and Pakistani defence establishment had no clue that the attack was coming so deep into their country because they had expected a surgical strike on camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir near the Line of Control.
However, India received intelligence that JeM had shifted many in-training terrorists and hardcore operatives, along with their trainers, to the Balakot camp, which has facilities for 500 to 700 people, and even has a swimming pool along with cooks and cleaners.
Fighter and other aircraft took off from several air bases in Western and Central commands at about the same time, leaving Pakistani defence officials confused as to where they were heading, the sources said. A small group of aircraft broke away from the swarm and headed to Balakot where "the sleeping terrorists were sitting ducks for the Indian bombing," said one source.
"They had no idea that Balakot was to be the target ... when the pictures come in you will see only khandhar (ruins) of the once-flourishing camp", said the source. The terror camp is located 20km from Balakot town.