Pulwama mastermind was trained in destroyed camp

Masood Azhar's son Abdullah too underwent arms training at the camp.

New Delhi: Ghazi, the mastermind of the Pulwama attack on the CRPF bus in which 40 soldiers were killed, was trained at Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Balakot camp which was hit by Indian Air Force (IAF) in a pre-dawn “pre-emptive” airstrike on Tuesday, according to intelligence sources.

Border Action Teams (BAT) of the Pakistan Army, who were involved in attack on Indian soldiers along LoC and international border were trained at the camp.

Masood Azhar’s son Abdullah too underwent arms training at the camp.

The attack on Balakot is significant as it is not in disputed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) but in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This signals India’s willingness to strike even at assets inside Pakistan. Sources said that it is 60 kilometre from LoC and by road it is 180 kilometres.

Balakot was a major training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed, which used to house upto 200 terrorists. However, terrorists from others launch pad near Line of Control (LoC) were recently shifted to the camp after Pulwama attack fearing retaliation from India. “As per our intelligence around 250-300 terrorists were present at the camp when IAF hit it on Tuesday,” said sources. They said that Pakistan never expected that India will hit in Pakistan’s territory and that is why terrorists were shifted there. Jaish used to hold basic and advance training for the terrorists at the camp.

Ghazi, who set-up the IED on the car which was involved in the Pulwama attack on CRPF, had under gone training at this camp and was also trainer here for sometime.

The camp had six barracks. Maulana Yosuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghouri, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, was the in-charge of the camp. According to sources in November 2017, 60 Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists had undergone a three month advance training at the camp.

The Balakot camp is located in a thick forest on a hilltop far from civilian presence, which avoided fear of any collateral casualty due to airstrike.

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