NEW DELHI :
A fleet of 12 Mirage jets conducted a cross-LoC (Line of Control) raid early on Tuesday and destroyed terrorist camps, a news report quoting unnamed Indian Air Force officials said.
There was no official confirmation so far from India’s defence ministry, but a Twitter post from Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi congratulating the Indian Air Force seemed to confirm the strike. It comes 12 days after a terror strike in Kashmir killed 42 CRPF personnel.
“I salute the pilots of the IAF," said Gandhi’s Twitter post.
Earlier news agency ANI quoting unnamed IAF sources said the pre dawn raids had struck terrorist camps across the line of control.
“IAF Sources: At 0330 hours on 26th February a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it," news agency ANI said in a Twitter post.
“IAF Sources: 1000 Kg bombs were dropped on terror camps across the LoC," ANI said in another post.
“IAF Sources: 12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation that dropped 1000 Kg bombs on terror camps across LOC, completely destroying it," a third post said.
The Cabinet Committee on Security was also called on Tuesday to brief the Prime Minister on an important development, a person familiar with the matter said, though he did not confirm what the important development was.
In a Twitter post early Tuesday, Pakistan’s military inter services press relations chief major general Asif Ghafoor said Indian fighter jets violated Pakistani airspace and were forced to return after Pakistan scrambled its fighter aircraft.
“Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within J&K was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow," Ghafoor said in his post.
Separately, public service broadcaster Radio Pakistan also tweeted: "Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has summoned an emergency meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan. The meeting will discuss the security situation."
The allegation comes amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after the February 14 suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that armed forces had been given a free hand to respond to the Pulwama attack at the time of their choosing, just a day after the suicide attack. A group of army commandos had crossed the line of control on the night of 28-29 September 2016 and destroyed terrorist launch pads in the wake of the 18 September attack on an Indian army garrison in Uri, which claimed 19 lives.
That India chose to strike across the LoC is significant given that New Delhi will be able to present a case that it struck in territory claimed by Pakistan illegally. India claims all of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, something that Pakistan disputes.
Also read: Pulwama aftermath: Lessons from the past