Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s that bombed terror targets across LoC but turned back due to size of Indian formation, claimed ANI quoting IAF sources. Though there is no official confirmation on the strikes, it is believed the early morning raids were carried out by the Western Air Command in a coordinated operation.
Pakistan, however, claimed the Indian jets “released a payload” after Pakistan scrambled its own jets, but there was no casualties or damage.
The confrontation follows escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals since the Febrary 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir, when 40 Indian paramilitary police were killed by a Pakistani-based militant group. New Delhi blamed Islamabad, which denies having a role in the attack.
“Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector,” Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter early on Tuesday, referring to an area in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.
“Indian aircraft intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the army, said in a tweet.
“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircraft gone back,” he tweeted.
Hours later, the ISPR said Indian aircrafts’ “intrusion” across the LOC in Muzafarabad Sector was within 3-4 miles in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“Under forced hasty withdrawal aircraft released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow,” it said.