ISLAMABAD: India said its fighter jets destroyed a major terrorist camp in Pakistan in the worst escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals since 2001, in an incident that Islamabad has described as “grave aggression.”
More than 300 people were killed in the air strikes at the camp belonging to terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed that has trained suicide bombers, according to an Indian official speaking on condition of anonymity.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the armed forces and citizens to “remain prepared for all eventualities.”
A statement released from his office today notes Pakistan would respond “at the time and place of its choosing,” and rejects India’s claim that it had hit a terror camp or inflicted heavy casualties. “Once again the Indian government has resorted to a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim,” according to the statement.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said India carried out the strikes in Pakistan following an attack in Kashmir earlier this month in response to intelligence that indicated Jaish-e-Mohammed was planning more attacks.
“In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary,” Gokhale said in New Delhi. “A very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.”