Pathankot terror attack aimed at destroyed IAF assets; JeM held responsible

Pathankot : In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at an Air Force base in Pathankot in Punjab, leading to a fierce gunbattle in which three security personnel were killed along with four attackers.

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The terrorists, who struck just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled visit to Lahore, could not, however, penetrate the defence cordon at the Air base which is located close to the border with Pakistan as they met with effective response from the security forces, police and security officials said.

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The attack by terrorists, suspected to belong to JeM outfit, took place at around 3.30 am and three security personnel, including a Garud commando of the IAF, were killed in it, defence sources said, adding four terrorists were also killed by the security forces within five hours.

But, more terrorists were suspected to be still on the loose as gunshots were heard during the subsequent combing up operation, defence sources said. IAF was using its two attack helicopters to assist the joint team of ground troops to neutralise the remaining terrorists, the sources said.

Authorities said helicopters and other equipment at the Air base are safe. The technical area of the Air Force station is safe, police said. The terrorists, with huge quantity of RDX in their possession, made their way to the base from the back side where there is a jungle, they said.

But they could not go beyond the ‘langar’ (eating place) near the outer perimeter of the IAF complex as the security forces were ready to take them on, the sources said, about the operation which was supervised directly by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Anticipating an attack after some armed men abducted an SP of Punjab Police on Thursday night, a team of NSG commandos had been rushed here last night itself after the NSA held a series of meetings with the Army Chief and top IB officials yesterday. An army detachment was also positioned at the Air base, the sources said.

Related Read: Alert in Punjab after SP abducted by suspected Pakistan terrorists

13:24 PM
Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal is set to visit the site of the terror attack.

The damage could have been bigger but just because of timely alert we were able to contain the terrorists, says Badal.

Elements who can’t stand peace carry out such attacks from time to time, says union minister Jitendra Singh, echoing Raman Singh.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav also has his say.

13:04 PM
Media reports say the attacks were aimed at destroying IAF assets at the site, but failed to do so.

NSA Ajit Doval has briefed PM Narendra Modi on the attacks.

12:59 PM
Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh says the attack happened because ‘terrorists cannot tolerate India-Pakistan dialogue”.

12:33 PM
IAF choppers conducted aerial firing at Pathankot air base. Shots fired by IAF chopper at site where terrorists are still believed to be holed up.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma is reviewing security arrangements at Qutab Minar in wake of the attack.

12:28 PM
Security in Dehradun tightened after Pathankot attack.

Ahmed Patel speaks to ANI after the attacks.

12:14 PM
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is set to hold a high level meeting today following the attacks.

Rajnath has also warned that Pakistan will get a ‘befitting reply’ if it indulges in terror attacks in India.

Related Read: Pathankot terror attack: Rajnath Singh promises ‘befitting response’ to terrorism

12:11 PM

Congress leader Ahmed Patel has slammed the government for the terror attacks.

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah has called the attacks, PM Modi’s first test against Pakistan.

11:41 AM

A grenade blast has also been reported at the site.

11:24 AM
The entire terrorist operation was controlled by handlers from Pakistan, even when the SP was abducted last evening.

The security and intelligence agencies in India were waiting for this attack.

At least one terrorist is at large. Search for the 5th terrorist is still going on, encounter has begun again.

11:21 AM
Security choppers are hovering over the terror site now.

IAF Garud Commando has been killed during the combing operation.

11:09 AM
According to media reports, fresh gunshots have been heard during the combing operations by the Indian army and police.

11:09 AM
According to media reports, fresh gunshots have been heard during the combing operations by the Indian army and police.

09:43 AM
Terrorists had infiltrated into India 3 days ago, sources say they are from Bahawalpur in Pakistan.

09:38 AM

The Punjab AGP has said that the battle is still ongoing as combing operation is being carried out to look for any missing terrorists.

08:43 AM
Two security personnel are dead, says media reports. All terrorists have been killed now.

The Pathankot encounter has ended and the army is clearing up the area, looking for terrorists.

08:42 AM
One more security personnel has been killed in the attack

08:27 AM
It is unclear whether there were only four terrorists or more. 4 have been killed, but the battle is still on.

08:22 AM
Based on developments on Friday, an alert was sounded accordingly. 2 army columns, Special Forces and NSG were already present in the area

Local brigade commander of the army is coordinating operations, army UAVs and IAF also involved in operation.

All four terrorists have been killed, reports ANI

08:08 AM

Security has been tightened all over Punjab after the attack, says Surinder Singh (SHO, Sarabha Nagar).

The number of terrorists who entered the base is considered to be at least 6 now.

07:53 AM
Top officials have convened an emergency meet at Air Force HQ in Delhi, situation is being monitored at the highest level

07:46 AM
According to incoming reports, one security personnel has been killed in the battle.

07:16 AM
Reports have emerged that Jaish-e-Mohammad may have carried out the attack.

NSA Ajit Doval held a high level meeting on Friday night after abduction of the SP, and all plans were already in place. The forces were alerted about a possible attack yesterday itself.

07:07 AM
The attack took place at MIG 29, helicopter air bases, say reports.

07:02 AM
The terrorists, who are in uniform, have occupied a building near the air base.

Helicopters have been dispatched to the area as well, said DIG (Border) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh to ANI.