Amidst the raging debate in the Indian political arena around Balakot airstrikes’ authenticity and efficacy, a senior Italian journalist has claimed that 130-170 terrorists had died in India’s airstrike in Balakot. In a report published on Stringerasia, journalist Francesca Marino has claimed that the number of terrorists died in the strike was in the range of 130-170, which includes those who have died during treatment later.
Where I piece together the informations I’ve got in the past few days. More details to come in future
BALAKOT: MORE DETAILS REVEALED https://t.co/B75ZdTkNa4
— FrancescaMarino (@francescam63) May 7, 2019
The report is of special significance due to its timing. It has been published within days after the United Nations (UN) designated Masood Azhar, deadly and most wanted chief of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) a global terrorist. JeM had claimed responsibility of the Pulwama attack, wherein more than 40 Indian paramilitary personnel lost their lives.
The report further revealed that 45 injured terrorists are still under treatment by Pakistani Army Doctors, while 20 terrorists have already died during treatment. It also suggests that terrorists who have recovered are still under the custody of the Pakistani Army.
Marino claims to have summed up the quotes from her sources to prepare this report, which clearly indicates that terror camps in Balakot were attacked in Balakot in the wee hours on February 26. While the attacks took place around 3:30 am, the Pakistani Army Unit managed to reach the spot from their camp in Shinkari around 6 am. Shinkari, the location of a Pakistani Army Base, is situated about 20 km away from Balakot. Incidentally, the injured terrorists are being treated by army doctors at a Harkat-ul-Mujahideen camp located in Shinkari.
According to Marino’s report, 11 out of the dead were trainers meant to conduct training for bomb-making to those imparting weapons training. 2 out of the 11 trainers were natives of Afghanistan. The report also reveals that Jaish members had visited the families of the deceased to hand over over cash compensation and avoid the risk of the number of fatalities being leaked to the media.
A freshly painted signboard has been put up at the site mentioning the presence of Taleem-ul-Quran on the hilltop. All references to the banned JeM terrorist Masood Azhar have been removed, which were there in the earlier signage. The site is still under the control of the Pakistani Army and even local police face restrictions to visit the camp.
Marino claims some locals of Bisian town still discuss the incident wherein they had noticed vehicles dumping debris in the nearby Kunhan river on the first night after the strikes.
Meanwhile, Jaish leadership has assured its cadres that revenge will be taken when the time is right.
In their disdainful attempt to attack PM Narendra Modi, some detractors will, however, continue to questions the Balakot Airstrikes despite a neutral source the confirmation. In the past, even after IAF’s admission of carrying out the airstrikes, Congress leaders including Digvijaya Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Kapil Sibal, Sam Pitroda, Kamal Nath, Captain Amarinder Singh have raised their doubts about these strikes and demanded proof to pin down Modi.