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Balakot and its connection to a Rae Bareli man

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New Delhi, Feb 27: When the Research and Analysis Wing was asked to identified camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, it picked five. However after a through analysis it was decided that the air strike would be at Balakot.

Pakistani reporters and troops visit the site of an Indian airstrike in Jaba, near Balakot, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Pakistan said India launched an airstrike on its territory early Tuesday that caused no casualties, while India said it targeted a terrorist training camp in a pre-emptive strike that killed a very large number of militants.

The Balakot training facility had at the time of the strike nearly 350 terrorists. It is a state of the art training camp, Indian officials say and hitting it was dealing a decisive blow to the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

The training camp at Balakot is called Markaj Syed Ahmed Shaheed lovely translated at Syed Ahmed Shaheed Centre. Syed Ahmed Barelvi originally hailed from Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. After he died fighting the Sikh regime in 1831, he was considered to be an Islamic martyr by the Deobandis.

How the Sukhoi 30 acted as a decoy as the Mirages struck at BalakotHow the Sukhoi 30 acted as a decoy as the Mirages struck at Balakot

In the several propaganda material that the JeM uses to recruit terrorists, Syed Ahmed is extensively mentioned. He is considered as a role model and the JeM always says that he waged jihad against the non-believers.

Prior to the JeM setting up its training facility this area had been used by Pakistan's non-state actors as a training ground. The Jaba Top on which the facility is located was used by several terrorists who were then being nurtured by Zia ul Haq.

After Maulana Masood Azhar was released following the Kandahar hijack, he had headed towards Afghanistan to help the Al-Qaeda and Taliban. It was then that he felt that his outfit should set up a state of the art training centre in Balakot. The location was chosen for two reasons-one due to the logistics and two due to the history the place attaches to Syed Ahmed Shaheed.

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