Fifth terrorist killed, says NSG; combing operations underway at Pathankot airbase

DECCAN CHRONICLE WITH GENCY INPUTS
Published Jan 4, 2016, 2:39 pm IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 5:45 pm IST
Defence officers said there were no collateral damage to the strategic Air Force assets.
Soldiers stand guard at the airbase in Pathankot, Punjab (Photo: AP)
 Soldiers stand guard at the airbase in Pathankot, Punjab (Photo: AP)

PathankotThe National Security Guard (NSG) said on Monday evening that they eliminated one more terrorist, taking the number of fidayeens killed in the Pathankot air base attack to five.

"We have eliminated the fifth terrorist, but the operations are still going on," said Major General Dushyant Singh, IG (Operations), NSG, during a media briefing here.

 

"The Air force has deployed all its assets, however, given the magnitude of the airbase, the operations will continue till we fully render the base safe," added Dushyant Singh.

The National Investigation Agency on Monday registered a case in connection with the terror attack.

Four terrorists had already been neutralised on Sunday evening, following which the security forces launched a massive combing operation to eliminate two more terrorists hiding in the air base.

The NSG, IAF and Army officers said there were no collateral damage to the strategic Air Force assets.

Earlier in the day, Inspector General NSG Maj General Dushant Singh had said, "Till now, we have eliminated four terrorists and operation to eliminate two more terrorists, possibly is in the final stage of conduct."

Singh, who was flanked by Air officer commanding, Air Commodore J S Damoon and Brigadier Anupinder Singh, had said "the entire operation will continue till all the personnel, assets, structure werere physically combed."

The terrorists were holed up in a double-storeyed building which was the living accommodation of Air Force personnel.

The area of the Air Force base was "very large" where strategic assets of IAF are kept, besides families of IAF personnel and schools are located in it. "It is a mini city," the IAF officer said.

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He said that the terrorists had come "well prepared" and are "heavily armed" with an aim to target the strategic assets of the Air Force.

The officers said the Army was on general alert since January 1 following intelligence inputs of a terror strike.

The officer said given the personnel and strategic assets located at the base, combing operations are going on continuously by security forces.

Air commodore Damoon said the AOC-in-C Air Marshal SP Dev is overseeing the operation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, presided over a high-level meeting to discuss the ongoing operation at Pathankot air base to flush out holed up terrorists and the attack on Indian consulate in Afghanistan.

Four terrorists have been neutralised in the operation. While one Garud commando, one NSG officer and five personnel of Defence Security Corps (DSC) were martyred. Seventeen security personnel were also injured.

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Lt Col E K Niranjan, a member of the NSG's Bomb Disposal Squad and a Kerala resident, died yesterday after he sustained injuries while he was trying to retrieve a live grenade from the body of a dead terrorist. Four other security men were also injured in this explosion.

Three Defence Security Corps (DSC) personnel also succumbed to injuries during the intervening night of January 2 and 3. Garud commando Gurusewak Singh and two members of the DSC were killed in the gunbattle on Saturday at the air base, located barely 35 km from the Indo-Pak border.

Giving details of the operation, Brigadier Singh said, "The terrorists had come well prepared and heavily armed with an aim of targeting strategic air assets which includes aircraft and helicopters at the vital Pathankot Air Base."

"I would like to assure everyone that all these assets have been secured and are safe. There is no damage to any one of them," he said.

The officer said the army located in close proximity to the base was on general alert based on intelligence input since January 1.

On the receipt of the input of a terror strike in the air base, army initially mobilised six columns and subsequently two more columns along with a platoon of Infantry Combat Vehicles were deployed at the air base.

The first contact with the militants was established by the Garud and with the joint operation of NSG, Garud and army, the terrorists were confined to specific area.

On January 2, the army columns came under fire from a group of militants holed up in an open patch of land and subsequently in the retaliation, three militants were killed.

Sanitisation and search operation continued throughout night and day, he said

It was yesterday late noon that terrorists again opened fire on our column, and they are engaged.

"Currently, the operation is in progress to clear this building from the militants. Our primary aim and concern has been security of air assets. I would like to assure everyone that this would continue to be ensured," he said.

"We have also ensured that there is no collateral damage as well as there are no civilian casualties.





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