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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Pulwama attack: Jaish fidayeen squad ‘knew exactly where to go’, says CRPF report

Four 4 CRPF men, four policemen and three militants were killed in the pre-dawn attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama on August 26.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2017 15:58 IST
Azaan Javaid
Azaan Javaid
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Army soldiers take position near the site of the gunfight at the district police lines in Pulwama, about 30km south of Srinagar.
Indian Army soldiers take position near the site of the gunfight at the district police lines in Pulwama, about 30km south of Srinagar.(Waseem Andrabi/HT)

Three Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants who carried out a fidayeen attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama had in-depth knowledge of the heavily fortified police facility, indicating a thorough recce of the area before the attack, a preliminary probe has found.

At least eight security personnel were killed in the pre-dawn attack at the police headquarters in southern Pulwama on Saturday. The attackers were also killed.

A CRPF official who has seen the findings of the probe said the precision strike indicated that the militants had prior information provided to them either through specific coordinates by their handlers in Pakistan or by someone who had comprehensive details about the premises.

The eight security personnel killed included four CRPF men.

Though authorities are yet to identify the slain militants, sources in CRPF said foreigners of Pakistani-origin and are suspected to have infiltrated through the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir. JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The preliminary report gives details of how the attack unfolded with the heavily-armed suicide squad storming the premises at around 4.40 am on Saturday.

Once inside, the militants separated and moved to three separate residential blocks.

The area has four such blocks, each of which has 12 staff quarters, which means almost 36 families were present in the area, an official told HT. “They knew exactly where to go,” the official added.

Initial probe showed the militants fired at and injured CRPF personnel on their way to the reasidential blocks. According to a CRPF official, the plan might have been to attack the CRPF battalion headquarters adjacent to the police lines but retaliatory fire by security forces restricted the movement of the militants.

Even as the militants moved into the residential blocks, security forces started evacuating the families including women and children.

Though the militants failed to take any hostage, they shot dead two CRPF officials and one JK police official when they were helping with the evacuation.

“Once the evacuation was complete, the entire area was cordoned off. Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF managed to eliminate one of the terrorists in the morning . CRPF then took responsibility of clearing out one block while the other block was managed by RR ,” the official said.

The 17-hour gun fight ended at 10.30 pm.

A source said three AK 47 rifles and two under barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) were recovered from the site. However, security forces have not found find any maps or GPS devices which are usually carried by Pakistan-based militant for such attacks.

Investigators said other items used by the militants might be buried in the rubble of a building where one of the militants was killed.

The report suggests that Mohammad Yaseen Teli, who was among the slain security personnel, was shot dead when he attempted to plant an IED in one of the buildings.

“The militant was in the third floor and when Yaseen went in to plant the IED, he was shot before he could reach the designated spot. He died on the way to the hospital,” a CRPF official said.

Teli, a resident of Baramulla’s Pattan area was recently nominated for the President’s Police medial for his role in gunning down three Lashkar-e-Toiba militants in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara area in December.

“Teli was part of CRPF’s quick action team which carried out the Hassanpora encounter in which Majid Zargar, the divisional commander of LeT was killed along with two other militants. Zargar was a close aide of top LeT commanders including Abu Dujana and Abu Qasim who was killed in 2015,” a source said.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 14:44 IST