NTRO confirmed 300 active targets in JeM camp hours before IAF strikes: Report
Around 300 mobile phones were active at the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Pakistan's Balakot hours before it was bombed by the Indian Air Force in an anti-terror operation after the Pulwama attack.
After the Indian Air Force was given clearance to target the biggest JeM camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) had started surveillance of the facility.
"During technical surveillance, it emerged that there was a presence of around 300 mobile phones with active signal strength inside the facility in the days leading up to the strike. The facility was destroyed by the IAF fighters," ANI quoted sources, who wished to remain anonymous, as saying.
Other Indian intelligence agencies had also corroborated NTRO’s assessment of active targets with inputs of similar number of Jaish operatives in the Balkot facility.
The Indian Air Force had on February 26 conducted pre-emptive air strike on the JeM camp to avenge the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
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Government sources said up to 350 terrorists were killed the IAF strikes, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250, some media reports indicated the damage was minimal and opposition leaders clamoured for clarity. But there has been no official statement so far.
The lack of clarity over the Balakot issue is rapidly snowballing into a political issue with opposition leaders, including from the Congress, asking for a statement.
Meanwhile, IAF chief B S Dhanoa on Monday said it is for the government to provide details on the terrorists killed and the Air Force only sees if a target has been hit or not.
Discussing the Balakot strike, 12 days after the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Dhanoa said the Air Force is not in a position to clarify how many people were inside.
The bomb damage assessment that is done post a mission only calculates the target that has been hit or not hit, the air chief noted.
"We can't count how many people have died. That depends on how many people were there," Dhanoa said, adding that a statement on the number of terrorists killed will be made by the government.
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