New Delhi: The Balakot-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp destroyed by the Indian Air Force Tuesday was located on the bank of the Kunhar river in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and was also used by the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group, government sources said.
The Balakot camp was an important training centre for the JeM and other terror organisations and it had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities to train them. Situated on the Kunhar river, the Balakot camp offered possibility of aquatic training to terrorists and housed hundreds of terrorists, the sources said.
The camp, 20 kms from the Balakot town, was used for "battle inoculation" and its trainers were ex-officers of the Pakistan Army. Several "inspirational lectures" were delivered by JeM founder and terror mastermind Masood Azhar and other terrorist leaders on several occasions.
Masood Azhar's relatives and cadres were trained at Balakot in advanced weapons and tactics and before the inception of JeM, the camp was also used by the Hizbul Mujahideen, the sources said.
In the Balakot camp, the terrorists were imparted the advanced 'Daura-e-Khaas' training in weapons, explosives and field tactics, attack on convoys of security forces, planting and making of IEDs, suicide bombing, rigging vehicles for suicide attacks and survival tactics in high altitudes and extreme-stress situations, they said.
The JeM specialises in fidayeen actions and gives immense importance to religious indoctrination and ideological brainwashing, they said.
India struck JeM biggest camp in Pakistan early Tuesday in a major "preemptive" air strike killing a large number of terrorists and trainers of the Pakistan-based terror group preparing to carry out suicide attacks in this country.
Giving details of the "intelligence led operation" at a news conference here, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said credible intelligence was received that the JeM was planning to carry out other suicide attacks in India after the Pulwama bombing on a CRPF convoy 12 days ago that killed 40 jawans.
"In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot," Gokhale said. "In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated."