An Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter jet similar to the ones that took part in the raid. Photo: AFP/Sanja Kanojia

Twelve Mirage-2000 fighter jets from the Indian Air force crossed into Pakistani air space in the early hours of Tuesday morning and “struck a major terrorist camp and completely destroyed it,” Indian officials said hours after the raid on Tuesday morning.

Indian officials added that the raid took place at 3.30 am local time and that “1,000-kilogram bombs had been dropped along the Line of Control.”

According to Pakistan’s Major General Asif Ghafor, the official Pakistan military spokesperson, Indian combat jets intruded into Pakistani air space early on Tuesday and reportedly dropped what was described as a “payload” in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

In a series of tweets, Major General Ghafoor claimed the Pakistan Air Force detected Indian Air Force (IAF) jets in the “Muzaffarabad sector,” forcing them to release their “payload” early and scramble back into Indian air space. No casualties or damage have been reported.

The incident comes in the wake of a terror attack in Pulwama in Indian-administered Kashmir, which killed 40 Indian policemen. New Delhi has accused Islamabad of harboring the Jaish-e-Mohammed, the militant group that claimed responsibility for the attack. Tensions between the two South Asian nuclear-armed neighbors have been high since the attack on February 14.

Since then rumors of a war or a military action by India have been rife, causing panic in some parts of Indian-administered Kashmir. As reported by Asia Times on Monday, a series of orders from the federal government led to a major shortage of fuel in Kashmir, as citizens feared an impending conflict between the two countries.

Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted early on Tuesday that Indian combat jets had crossed into Pakistani air space. Photo: Courtesy Twitter

Indian military sources confirmed to Asia Times that a raid had taken place. “However, it does seem like the Pakistanis were prepared and expecting something,” a senior military official said.

India also launched an airborne early warning aircraft that reportedly was flying along the border soon after the incident and it continued to fly along the international border in Punjab, in anticipation of Pakistani retaliation by air.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing general elections in April this year. It is under pressure to be seen to act against what it terms as “Pakistan-sponsored” terror attacks against India.

In 2016, Pakistan-based terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Toiba group attacked a brigade headquarters of the Indian Army in the Uri sector. India retaliated by launching a series of commando raids by its Special Forces.

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