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India has confirmed "an intelligence-led operation" inside Pakistan on what it calls "terror camps", claiming fighter jets struck a training camp of the group believed to be behind the suicide bombing attack on an Indian security convoy in Pulwama, in Indian-administered Kashmir. Pakistani military confirmed an "intrusion" by Indian fighter jets but denied any damage was caused.
26 Feb 2019 - 2:42 PM  UPDATED 27 Feb 2019 - 10:26 AM

Pakistan's military is accusing India of "intruding" into its airspace, saying its jets were "immediately" scrambled in response as India claimed it conducted a "non-military preemptive strike" at what it claims to be a terror camp inside Pakistan. 

India's foreign secretary Vijay Gokhle said the air strike was in response to "credible intelligence" that the banned group Jaish-e-Mohammed was preparing to target India again.

"Credible intelligence was received that the Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting other suicide terror attacks in various parts of the country and various jihadis were being trained for this purpose.

"In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary," Mr Gokhle told journalists in New Delhi. 

He said a "large number of terrorists" were killed in the air strike on a Jaish camp in Balakot in Pakistan. 

Though the Pakistani military confirmed that the Indian Air Force fighter jets intruded into the Pakistani airspace but denied any damage or casualties. 

"Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&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," Pakistani Defence Forces spokesman Major General Asif Gafoor tweeted. 

Multiple Indian media outlets are reporting that as many as 12 Mirage fighter jets carried out the air strike at 3:30 am (India time) on Tuesday and inflicted "major damage" on what they called camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot town 60 km from the line of control.

However, Maj Gen Ghafoor claims the jets dropped the bombs in the open and caused no damage.

Jaish-e-Mohammed - a group formed by Maulana Masood Azhar after he was swapped for 180 hostages of a hijacked Air India flight in 1999 claimed responsibility for the February 14 IED attack on Indian troops in Pulwama district in Indian-administered-Kashmir that killed 44 CRPF troops.

The Indian government said it was a step taken for the nation's security.

“The Air Force has taken a very important step for nation’s security. Armed forces were given a free-hand by the PM. The entire nation now stands behind armed forces,” Prakash Javadekar, India's Human Resources Development minister told journalists in New Delhi. 

The Indian government warned of a "strong response" after a vehicle loaded with explosives was rammed into a convoy carrying paramilitary personnel. 

Neither the Indian government nor the Indian Air Force has so far made a statement so far. However, the Agriculture minister of India tweeted and claimed the Indian jets struck and "completely destroyed" terror camps across the line of control.

This is the second time in less than three years that India has taken military action against groups operating out of Pakistan or Pakistan-administered-Kashmir.

In September 2016, the Indian Army claimed to have caused heavy damage on what they called "launch pads for terrorists" in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir in response to an attack on an Army camp in Uri in Indian-administered-Kashmir that killed 18 troops

The two south Asian neighbours had been locked in a war of words last week after the Indian PM Narendra Modi warned of extracting "a very heavy price" for the Pulwama attack, with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan vowing to retaliate if India attacked, sparking fears of a major escalation.

The nuclear-armed nations have fought three wars over the disputed region of Kashmir since independe from Britain in 1947. 

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