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Maulana Yusuf Azhar, mastermind of Kandahar hijack, was main target of IAF's airstrike in Balakot; has Interpol notice against him

Foreign Secretary of India Vijay Gokhale on Monday after confirming India's airstrike in Pakistan's Balakot said that the strike was carried out at the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp run by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghuari, who is the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar.

Yusuf was the main target of the IAF strike at Balakot, which is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan which Gokhale claimed was a "pre-emptive non-military" attack on the terrorist camps to eliminate terrorists who were being trained to carry out jihadist attacks in India in the wake of the 14 February Pulwama attack which killed 40 CRPF jawans.

 Maulana Yusuf Azhar, mastermind of Kandahar hijack, was main target of IAFs airstrike in Balakot; has Interpol notice against him

Interpol notice against Maulana Yusuf Azhar. Image courtesy:

Briefing mediapersons Gokhale said, “A large number of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, trainers, senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar.”

Who is Maulana Yusuf Azhar?

Yusuf Azhar alias Mohammad Salim had led the hijacking of the Indian Airline flight IC-814 in 1999 which was routed to Kandahar in Afghanistan where Masood Azhar was freed along with two other JeM members in exchange of the passengers aboard the Kathmandu to New Delhi bound flight.

In 2002, the Indian government had handed over a list of 20 fugitives to Islamabad which featured Yusuf Azhar's name, The Hindu reported. Whereas, in the same year, the Interpol on the basis of a request by the Central Beaureu of Investigation (CBI) opened a red corner notice against him.

The Interpol notice mentions his place of birth as Karachi, Pakistan, and says that he is wanted in India for "hijacking, murder and kidnapping."

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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2019 14:07:35 IST