IAF strike: On hearing explosions, residents of Pakistan’s Balakot thought it was an earthquake

Residents in the quake-prone Balakot town in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province Tuesday said they were woken by “loud explosions” and thought a fresh tremor must have hit the region when Indian Air Force jets pounded a large terror training camp.

Balakot town in Pakistan’s north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was destroyed during the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and was rebuilt with assistance from Saudi Arabia.

Residents in the mountainous area town told BBC Urdu they were woken by loud explosions. 

Residents in several towns near Balakot reported hearing explosions early on Tuesday.

Mohammad Adil, a farmer in Jaba village, said he and his family were woken at about 03:00 by “a huge explosion”.

He said they thought an earth quake must have hit the region.

“Then we heard jets flying over. We went to the place in the morning. There was a huge crater and four or five houses were destroyed,” he said.

In a pinpointed and swift air strike that lasted less than two minutes, India pounded Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp in Pakistan early Tuesday, killing up to 350 terrorists and trainers who were moved there for their protection after the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

The pre-dawn operation, described as “non-military” and “preemptive”, struck a five-star resort style camp on a hilltop forest. 

Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, however, said the strikes caused no casualties. He tweeted that Pakistani jets were scrambled and forced the Indian fighter planes to make a “hasty withdrawal”, dropping their payload in an open area.

(With inputs from PTI)