Uri militants came in army uniforms, cut through the fence to reach camp
The four militants who carried out the audacious Uri strike that left 18 soldiers dead wore fatigues, entered the army base by cutting the fence and knew their way around the military complex, sources said.UriTerrorAttack Updated: Sep 20, 2016 08:28 IST
The four militants who carried out the audacious Uri strike that left 18 soldiers dead wore fatigues, entered the army base by cutting the fence and knew their way around the military complex, sources said.
Initial investigations reveal that the four fidayeen, or suicide attackers, reached the administrative base of the army camp, which is barely six kilometers from the line of control in northern Kashmir, by breaking through the fence.
“There are several sentry posts apart from a gate but the terrorists sneaked in undetected after cutting the fence,’’ an official who visited Uri with the army chief on Sunday told HT.
The four were dressed for the raid. “They came in army uniforms, their hair was cut short like army officers’ and none of them was sporting a beard. They did not look like a suicide squad…,’’ the official said.
The men, suspected to be members of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, seemed to know the camp layout.
Once inside, they moved towards the cook house and an adjoining shelter. Armed with under-barrel grenade launchers, they fired grenades and rained bullets simultaneously, setting on fire the diesel barrels lying in the complex.
The flames soon engulfed the tents in which soldiers were still asleep. As soldiers trapped in burning tents screamed for help, three militants stayed close to each other, wreaking death.
“Three terrorists were killed within 12 minutes of the first bullet being fired,” an army officer said. But, 17 soldiers, too, had died in those 12 minutes.
Quick reaction teams were called in to save the soldiers lodged in the administrative area, where troops don’t carry battle gear. The fourth militant who broke from the group was killed barely 40 metres away from the officers’ enclave.
During the mopping operation, it was found that the four men had shaved their chests – a hallmark of suicide attackers who purify themselves before certain death.
At a meeting in Srinagar, defence minister Manohar Parrikar wanted some answers -- how the militants entered India and then sneaked into a high-security army camp. The army investigating the “double breach”, he was told. It is not clear when the group crossed over into India.
The undetected fence cut is a serious lapse. “It is a matter of inquiry. We are looking at the lapses and are tightening up security,” Lt Gen Satish Dua, Corps Commander, 15 Corps, said when asked about the breach.