A day after Punjab Police SP was abducted and robbed of his vehicle by a group of men in army uniforms, a terror attack was launched at the Air Force base in Pathankot in Punjab.
Security forces were already on alert and anticipating an attack when the suspected terrorists arrived. The security forces were able to neutralize 4 terrorists even before they entered the operational part of the Air Base. However, in the gunbattle that lasted for about 16 hours a commando and two other personnel of the IAF were killed along with all the five attackers. At least, six security men were also injured.
Five terrorists believed to be from the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group, launched the attack at 3:30 AM with an aim of destroying the air base which is located near the border with Pakistan, a top security official said.
According to a statement released by the IAF, the terrorists were detected by aerial surveillance platforms as soon as they entered the Air Force Station.
Reports also said that the terrorists made their way into the base from the back, carrying huge quantities of RDX.
Following the attack, security was stepped up in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Both states were put on high alert.
Sources said that a coordinated counter operation supervised by NSA Ajit Doval was launched to neutralise the terrorists.
A high level meeting was held in Delhi where Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met the three Service Chiefs and Intelligence Bureau Chiefs along with NSA Ajit Doval.
On Thursday too, a series of meetings by the NSA with the Army Chief and top IB officers were held as the forces anticipated the attack. The Army was put on alert and NSG commandos were rushed to Pathankot overnight. Even the NIA team has now been rushed to the spot.
The alarm bells were rung when an SP with the Punjab police was abducted and beaten up by unidentified men on Thursday night. The SP’s official vehicle was also stolen.
(With inputs from PTI)