A recent report from the Times Now has claimed that around 263 terrorists were present at the Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp at Pakistan’s Balakot, just five days prior to the air strikes conducted by the Indian air force. This comes amid growing speculations about the number of casualties, with parties like Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) raising doubts over the strikes itself.
The presence of 263 terrorists was confirmed at the Balakot JeM camp five days before the IAF carried out the pre-dawn air strikes on February 26, days after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in which 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed.
Times Now has claimed that 18 senior commanders of the JeM were present at the Balakot facility to train the terror recruits. While 83 terrorists had assembled for Daura-e-Aam — the beginners’ training course, 91 terrorists had assembled for Daura-e-Khas — advanced training. A total of 25 were selected for special training as fidayeens.
Further, 30 had assembled for Daura-e-Mautulah and some 18 to 20 were working staff, including cooks and barbers. Some of the teachers and trainers present and identified included Mufti Umar, Maulana Javed, Maulana Aslam, Maulana Ajmal, Maulana Zubair, Maulana Abdul Gafur Kashmiri, Maulana Qudratullah, Maulana Qasim and Maulana Junaid.
As per the report, the presence of 263 terrorists at the JeM camp was established by Indian intelligence agencies. The top leadership of the JeM had assembled at the Balakot facility in the run-up to several terror training courses that were due to start on February 25.