Balkot Air Strike: Over 130 Jaish Killed.
Just days after Pakistan said it was willing to take Indian journalists to the site of the Balakot air strike, a new report has pegged the number of Jaish-e-Mohammed members killed at between 130 and 170.
Italian journalist and author Francesca Marino, in a piece published in StringerAsia, said the strike carried out by India in the wee hours of February 26 “immediately killed a large number of JeM cadres.” The numbers estimated have ranged from 130-170, including those who have died during treatment. Those killed included 11 trainers, ranging from bomb makers to those imparting weapons training. Two of these trainers were from Afghanistan,” Marino wrote, adding that JeM members visited families of those killed and handed over compensation in cash to “prevent news on the fatalities leaking.”
Quoting sources, Marino further said that around two-and-half hours after the bombing of the camp, a Pakistani Army unit had arrived at the location from their camp in Shinkiari (about 20 km away from Balakot). “Immediately after the Army unit arrival, the injured were taken to a Harkat-ul-Mujahideen camp, located in Shinkiari and treated by Pakistan Army doctors. Local sources say around 45 persons are still undergoing treatment in this camp, while around 20 have died during treatment due to serious injuries. Those who have recovered are still in custody of the Army and have not been discharged,” she wrote.
Describing the area around the place of strike, Marino stated that the foothill from where the trek to the JeM camp starts, now has a freshly painted signboard that indicates the presence of the Taleem-ul-Quran on the hilltop but unlike earlier, all links to JeM leader Masood Azhar, who was recently designated under the UN Sanctions list, have been removed.