BALAKOT CAMP OPS EX­PANDED

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Front page - Harinder Baweja [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

NEWDELHI: The Jaish-e-mo­hammed (JEM) ter­ror group has ex­panded its ter­ror training fa­cil­ity in Pak­istan and added at least two new build­ings to its com­plex, of­fi­cials at in­tel­li­gence agen­cies said.

Tech­ni­cal and hu­man in­tel­li­gence point to en­hanced ac­tiv­ity in Balakot, which was bombed by the IAF af­ter an at­tack on a CRPF con­voy in Pul­wama in February last year, an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial re­vealed. “Two new build­ings have also come up,” the of­fi­cial said.

› Ever since Ar­ti­cle 370 was an­nulled in Au­gust last year, Pak­istan has been try­ing to push fresh ter­ror re­cruits into Jammu and Kash­mir. IN­TEL­LI­GENCE OF­FI­CIAL

NEW DELHI: The Jaish-e-mo­hammed (JEM) ter­ror group has ex­panded its ter­ror training fa­cil­ity in Pak­istan and added at least two new build­ings to its com­plex, of­fi­cials at in­tel­li­gence agen­cies said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The Balakot fa­cil­ity was bombed by the In­dian Air Force in February last year, soon af­ter an ex­plo­sive-laden car rammed into a CRPF con­voy in Pul­wama, killing 40 troop­ers.

Gen­eral Bipin Rawat had in Septem­ber last year said that the Jaish had re­ac­ti­vated the ter­ror fa­cil­ity at Balakot.

“Tech­ni­cal and hu­man in­tel­li­gence point to en­hanced ac­tiv­ity in Balakot. Two new build­ings have also come up in the com­plex,” an in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial re­vealed.

Ac­cord­ing to a dossier handed over to Pak­istan by In­dia af­ter the Pul­wama at­tack, the training camp is spread over six acres and can ac­com­mo­date 600 ter­ror­ists. The Air Force struck the fa­cil­ity in an early morn­ing op­er­a­tion .

An­other in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial, who also spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said: “Ever since Ar­ti­cle 370 was an­nulled in Au­gust last year, Pak­istan has been try­ing to push fresh ter­ror re­cruits into Jammu and Kash­mir. The at­tempts did not stop even af­ter heavy snow­fall in the Val­ley. They shifted from the line of con­trol to the in­ter­na­tional bor­der.”

On Jan­uary 30, three ter­ror­ists sus­pected to have crossed in from the in­ter­na­tional bor­der in Jammu, were killed af­ter a gun bat­tle with the forces on the na­tional high­way near Na­grota.

Pak­istan, un­der the glare of the Fi­nan­cial Ac­tion Task Force (FATF), has taken some steps against ter­ror groups op­er­at­ing on its soil but the first of­fi­cial added that “while ac­tion has been taken against Hafiz Saeed and his Lashkar-e-toiba group, the Jaish is training fresh cadre. We are ex­pect­ing in­fil­tra­tion to go up once the snows start melt­ing and the passes along the line of con­trol open up”.

HT re­ported ear­lier this month, quot­ing un­named in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tives, that the Balakot fa­cil­ity, cur­rently headed by Yusuf Azhar, was training 27 ter­ror­ists whom it hoped to dis­patch to In­dia to launch ter­ror strikes.

The up­com­ing sum­mer will be the first since Jammu and Kash­mir’s spe­cial sta­tus was scrapped last Au­gust. “Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan and the coun­try’s army chief have been ex­tend­ing open sup­port to Kash­mir af­ter Ar­ti­cle 370 was tweaked. We will have to guard against a surge in mil­i­tant vi­o­lence. The ac­tiv­ity in Balakot is not a good sign,” the first of­fi­cial said.

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