Source: Times of India
NEW DELHI: Countering denials of the Pakistan government and military, Maulana Ammar, the younger brother of Jaish-e-Muhammed leader Masood Azhar , has in an audio confirmed that Indian fighter jets hit the JeM camp near Balakot + in Khyber Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan.
In a recording available on social media, the voice identified as Maulana Ammar decries the bombing of the “markaz” (a centre of religious learning) and expresses anguish over India striking a centre where jihad was being taught rather than the headquarters of an official agency.
“Today the enemy has answered all questions itself when they crossed the mountains entered our land and launched attacks on our Islamic centre,” Maulana Ammar said, adding “This is declaration of war by the enemy.” The speech is understood to have been delivered a day after the air strikes at a gathering of clerics at Peshawar.
“The Indian aircraft did not attack any safe house of any agency. It did not bomb the headquarters of any agency. They bombed a centre where students were learning jihad for the assistance of Muslims of Kashmir,” he said. He is heard saying that the students were learning all about making the distress of Kashmir their own. “This is not a jihad of any agency, by coming out of its territory to attack us, India has ensured we start our jihad against it,” he said.
The Pakistan establishment and sections of western media have raised doubts over whether the bombs did strike the target but the recording seems to suggest that Jaish leadership does acknowledge the hit.
Other reports have also appeared stating that there was a sizeable toll at the Jaish complex at a hill feature called “Jaba top” that was hit by smart bombs released by IAF fighters. A report in FirstPost said locals confirmed that ambulances carried away some 30-odd bodies. A former ISI officer “Col Salim” is learnt to have died in the attack .