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Militants who attacked BSF camp were part of group that infiltrated into Kashmir over a month ago

The militants were lying low and stayed in south Kashmir for over a month before executing the attack.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2017 20:43 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Srinagar, Hindustan Times
Kashmir,BSF camp attack,Srinagar BSF camp
Smoke billows out of the building where militants were believed to be hiding during an encounter with the security forces following their attack at a BSF camp, near the international airport in Srinagar on Tuesday. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)

The three militants of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, who attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) camp in Srinagar on Tuesday, were part of a larger group that infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir between July and August, a top police officer said.

According to sources, the group is believed to have infiltrated from across the border via Poonch near the Line of Control or north Kashmir. They added the militants were lying low and stayed in south Kashmir for over a month before executing the attack.

A BSF trooper was killed and three sustained injuries after the militants attacked the paramilitary complex in the high-security zone close to the Srinagar airport just before daybreak, leading to the hours-long gunfight that ended after all the three suspects were killed.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack.

“A big group had infiltrated. About six to seven people from the group are still at large, we need to eliminate them soon,’’ inspector general of police (Kashmir Range) Muneer Khan said.

Khan said the same group was involved in the suicide attack in August on a police complex with residential buildings in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Eight security personnel and three militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammed were killed in the attack.

The group is, however, believed to have moved to volatile south Kashmir after the Pulwama attack on August 26.

Khan said around seven to eight members of the group are still at large and some of them are still active in south Kashmir.

Intelligence agencies had warned about more attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammad as many infiltrators were still at large. The state police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Indian Army have been asked to be extra vigilant to thwart any terror attack.

Sources said it was the “Afzal Guru squad” of the banned organisation which has been involved in such attacks. The same group was also involved in one of the deadliest attacks on an army installation in Uri in September 2016, in which 18 soldiers lost their lives.

Khan said the militants broke into the 182 Battalion Camp of the BSF through a fence adjoining a residential area. “They entered Gagoo Land through Friends Colony,’’ he said.

The colony, which is to the left of the first checking gate of the Srinagar International Airport, is a high-end residential area that houses many bureaucrats and politicians. It opens into Gagoo Land on the rear of the BSF camp.

Khan said the militants, who entered the camp around 4.05am after cutting through the concertina wires and fence, entered two separate buildings - the administrative block and Subordinate Officers Mess. He said one militant was killed at the gate while two managed to get inside the camp.

According to officials, the first militant fell to the bullets of the security men “while they were trying to enter the camp’’. “The three jawans, including the ASI, were the first to come in the line of fire,’’ SP Vaid, the Jammu and Kashmir director general of police, said.

While the three soldiers are out of danger, police declared the death of the BSF officer at 11am. The second militant was killed between 10 to 10.30am and last one was killed around 2pm.

The BSF personnel engaged with the militants through their Quick Retaliatory Teams (QRTS).

“After sometime CRPF and Budgam police joined the operation. The army was doing the outer cordon.The operation was a quality example of coordination between forces to repel the attack,’’ Khan added.

“Both of them were eliminated...”

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 18:02 IST