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India says it launched air strikes against militants in Pakistani territory

A top Indian minister said strikes targeted a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group in Balakot.

Pakistan said it scrambled fighter planes in response.

Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been strained since a suicide attack earlier this month that killed more than 40 Indian troops.

India accuses Pakistan of allowing militant groups to operate on its territory and says Pakistani security agencies played a role in the 14 February attack – claimed by JeM. Pakistan denies any role and says it does not provide safe haven to militants.

Tuesday’s air strikes are the first launched across the line of control – the de facto border that divides India-administered Kashmir from Pakistan-administered Kashmir – since a war between the two countries in 1971.

Balakot is in Pakistan’s north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

had killed a “large number” of militants, including commanders, and had avoided civilian casualties.

“Credible intel [intelligence] was received that JeM was planning more suicide attacks in India. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary,” he said.

Pakistan’s army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said the strikes caused no casualties. He tweeted that the Indian jets were forced to make a “hasty withdrawal” and dropped their payload in an open area.

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