Terror attack grips Punjab's Pathankot air base
- An air force base in Punjab's Pathankot district was attacked by a group of terrorists on Saturday morning.
- In the gunbattle that ensued, 4 terrorists and 3 soldiers were killed.
- Combing operations have been initiated to rule out the possibility of any more terrorist hiding at the base.
- The terrorists were contained in the periphery of the air base.
Strategic importance of the attack
- Pathankot is a principal air base for MiG-21 Bison fighters and Mi-35 attack helicopters which are strategic advantages in case of a war, located "50 kilometers from the border with Pakistan and 200 kilometers from state capital Chandigarh."
- Sources claimed that the terrorists were from Bhawalpur in Pakistan and were assigned to "blow up the helicopters stationed at the base."
Cop abduction and Pathankot terror attack get linked
- Merely 20 hours after "a senior Punjab police officer and two others were allegedly abducted by five men in army fatigues and beaten up before being released near Pathankot".
- It has been highlighted that the event was connected to the Pathankot attack.
- The terrorists who attacked Pathankot airbase used the same car abducted from Salwinder Singh, a superintendent of police in Gurdaspur.
Terrorists most likely Jaish-e-Mohammed men
The attack is suspected to have been carried out by the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
India asks Pak to control JeM, ISI
- The Indian government traced back the identities of the terrorists to Bahawalpur in Pakistan, which is also the base of Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar.
- Intelligence sources stated that "The terrorists were dropped near the Indian border on Dec 29-30 in a Land Cruiser and Pajero."
- The attacks may now compel the inclusion of the JeM as a subject in the scheduled Indo-Pak peace talks.
Death toll climbs to 7 in Pathankot attack
- A fresh grenade blast occurred at the Pathankot Air Force base this morning during combing operations by security forces who are sanitizing the base after a terrorist attack.
- The blast claimed the life of NSG commando Lt Col Niranjan, who was defusing the grenade at the base.
- Three other security personnel succumbed to injuries sustained the previous night, taking the death toll to 7.
Two teams of terrorists may be involved
- Security sources, on the condition of anonymity stated that there may be two separate teams of terrorists involved in the attack, as security forces engaged with a second set of hostiles.
- A senior Punjab Police official said the number of terrorists could be as high as eight or 10 and not 5 as earlier predicted.
- 2 choppers were scrambled to provide aerial reconnaissance.
Six terrorists killed, UJC claims responsibility
- Sources in the security establishment have confirmed that two more terrorists have been killed in the Pathankot Air Force base, taking the count to a total of 6 terrorists killed so far.
- The bodies of the terrorists are yet to be recovered as combing operations are still underway.
- Meanwhile, the little known United Jihad Council, based from Kashmir, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
What is the UJC?
The United Jihad Council is a conglomerate of terrorist organizations, formed in 1990 by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, to bring all terror outfits involved in Jammu and Kashmir under a single platform.
All terrorists killed, Defence Min arrives in Pathankot
- Officials have stated that all terrorists at the Pathankot Air Force base have been neutralized and combing operations are underway.
- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is said to be at the base, taking stock of the situation.
- Sources have added that flying has resumed at the base and that officials from the National Investigation Agency have arrived to begin investigations into the attack.
Search operations over suspected activity near Gurdaspur
- Security agencies launched search operations around Tibri cantonment in Gurdaspur district on statements from civilians of suspicious activity around the area.
- The two civilians said that they had "spotted the two hiding in a sugarcane field near village Pandher which is close to the Tibri cantonment."
- The said 2 'terrorists' were seen "in army outfit, wearing black glasses and were heavily armed."
Pakistan arrests suspects in connection with Pathankot attack
- Pakistan announced that an unspecified number of people had been arrested in raids carried out in Gujranwala, Jhelum and Bahawalpur districts.
- A probe will be carried out to ascertain if they were involved in the Pathankot attack.
- Nawaz Sharif said that Intelligence Bureau, ISI, police, Federal Investigation Agency and military intelligence personnel will all be part of the probe team.