Intel points to enhanced activity in Balakot, expansion of JeM camp

The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group has expanded its terror training facility in Pakistan and added at least two new buildings to its complex, officials at intelligence agencies said on condition of anonymity.

The Balakot facility was bombed by the Indian Air Force in February last year, soon after an explosive-laden car rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, killing 40 troopers.

General Bipin Rawat had in September last year said that the Jaish had reactivated the terror facility at Balakot.

“Technical and human intelligence point to enhanced activity in Balakot. Two new buildings have also come up in the complex,” an intelligence official revealed.

According to a dossier handed over to Pakistan by India after the Pulwama attack, the training camp is spread over six acres and can accommodate 600 terrorists. The Air Force struck the facility in an early morning operation .

Another intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Ever since Article 370 was annulled in August last year, Pakistan has been trying to push fresh terror recruits into Jammu and Kashmir. The attempts did not stop even after heavy snowfall in the Valley. They shifted from the line of control to the international border.”

On January 30, three terrorists suspected to have crossed in from the international border in Jammu, were killed after a gun battle with the forces on the national highway near Nagrota.

Pakistan, under the glare of the Financial Action Task Force, has taken some steps against terror groups operating on its soil but the first official added that “while action has been taken against Hafiz Saeed and his Lashkar-e-Toiba group, the Jaish is training fresh cadre. We are expecting infiltration to go up once the snows start melting and the passes along the line of control open up.”

HT reported earlier this month, quoting unnamed intelligence operatives, that the Balakot facility, currently headed by Yusuf Azhar, was training 27 terrorists whom it hoped to dispatch to India to launch terror strikes.

The upcoming summer will be the first since Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped last August. “Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the country’s army chief have been extending open support to Kashmir after Article 370 was tweaked. We will have to guard against a surge in militant violence. The activity in Balakot is not a good sign,” the first official said.

Source : Hindustan Times

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