India airstrikes in Pakistan raise fears of escalation

India airstrikes in Pakistan raise fears of escalation
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The Associated PressPakistani protesters shout anti-Indian slogans in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Tuesday.

9:30 am, February 27, 2019

The Associated PressBALAKOT, Pakistan (AP) — Tensions escalated sharply on the Asian subcontinent Tuesday with nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India trading accusations and warnings after a pre-dawn airstrike by India that New Delhi said targeted a terrorist training camp.

Pakistan said there were no casualties, while New Delhi called the attack a pre-emptive strike that hit a terrorist training camp and killed “a very large number” of militants.

The airstrike followed a suicide bombing in India’s section of the disputed territory of Kashmir on Feb. 14 that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers. Pakistan has denied involvement in the attack but vowed to respond to any Indian military operation against it.

Several reporters, including an Associated Press journalist, trudged up the Kangaran Nallah hill to the site of Tuesday’s bombing near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir. They saw several large craters, a few upended trees and villagers wondering why they had been targeted.

“There are only mud-brick homes here. There is no madrassas. There isn’t even a concrete house,” said 55-year-old Noor Shah who lived about a half-kilometer (a third of a mile) from the site.

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