Pakistani villagers shaken awake as Indian warplanes drop bombs near madrasa
By Abu Arqam Naqash and Asif Shahzad BALAKOT, Pakistan (Reuters) - Villagers near the town of Balakot in northeast Pakistan were shaken out of their sleep by what seemed like an earthquake in the early hours of Tuesday, only discovering once dawn broke that there had been an Indian airstrike on their neighbourhood. Indian officials said the raid destroyed a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the militant group behind a suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 members of a paramilitary police force on Feb.
By Abu Arqam Naqash and Asif Shahzad
BALAKOT, Pakistan (Reuters) - Villagers near the town of Balakot in northeast Pakistan were shaken out of their sleep by what seemed like an earthquake in the early hours of Tuesday, only discovering once dawn broke that there had been an Indian airstrike on their neighbourhood.
Indian officials said the raid destroyed a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the militant group behind a suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 members of a paramilitary police force on Feb. 14. India's foreign secretary said "a very large number of JEM terrorists" had been eliminated in what was the first Indian air strike on Pakistani territory since 1971.
The villagers, however, said only one person was wounded in the attack and they knew of no fatalities.
A resident, who did not want to give his name, said there was a nearby madrasa run by Jaish, though most villagers were guarded talking about their militant neighbours.
"There is this madrasa on the hilltop. The Jaish-e-Mohammed runs it," he said.
Another person, who also declined to give his name, said the militants had had a presence in the area for years.
"I belong to that area. I know for sure that there has been a training camp. It used to be there. I know Jaish people ran it," he said.
"This camp was turned into a madrasa several years ago, but no one would still be allowed to get close to this infrastructure. There are scores of students in the madrasa at any given time," he said.
Set in a wooded, hilly area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on the way to the scenic Kaghan valley, some 40 kilometres from the de facto border with India, Balakot was of many towns that was devastated by a massive earthquake in 2005.
From what villagers could see, the Indian attack had missed its target as the bombs dropped exploded about a kilometre away from the madrasa.
Mohammad Ajmal, a 25 year-old villager near Jaba Top, where the attack took place, said he had heard four loud bangs in succession just before 3.00 a.m. (2200 GMT).
"We couldn't tell what had happened. It was only in the morning that we figured out it was an attack," he told Reuters after visiting the site, in a wooded hilltop area.
"We saw fallen trees and one damaged house, and four craters where the bombs had fallen."
Fida Hussain Shah, a 46 year-old farmer, said he and other villagers had found pieces of Indian ordnance that had splintered pine trees on the hill but the only casualty was a man sleeping in his house when shrapnel broke the windows.
(Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing Cameron-Moore)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he had noted what he called "sharp anti-Russian rhetoric" from U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but that he had been encouraged by Biden's comments on arms control. Putin, in comments on state television ahead of the U.S.
By John Irish and Robin Emmott PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - France and Germany said on Wednesday they would propose European Union sanctions against Russian individuals after receiving no credible answers from Moscow over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent. Several Western governments have said Russia, which has denied accusations by Navalny that it was involved in the poisoning, must help in investigations or face consequences. The decision and speed with which Europe's two main powers agreed to push ahead with sanctions suggests a hardening of the bloc's diplomacy towards Moscow.
By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, under coronavirus quarantine in the White House and restricted from traveling, is seeking ways to put a spark back in his struggling re-election bid and get behind his desk in the Oval Office with four weeks left until Election Day.