Security forces foiled a pre-dawn attempt by the Jaish-e-Mohammed to storm a BSF camp near the high-security Srinagar airport on Tuesday, killing all three militants in an operation that also claimed the life of an ASI of the force, police said.
State Director General of Police SP Vaid said the three terrorists who attacked the BSF camp had been “neutralised”. “We are carrying out search operations inside the premises to rule out the possibility of planting of explosives,” he said.
BSF Assistant Sub-Inspector BK Yadav, 50, was killed and three jawans injured when the militants entered the BSF battalion headquarters at Gogoland, adjacent to the airport.
Officials in the know of developments said there was prior intelligence that a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative, identified as ‘Noora Trali’, had brought in a suicide squad into the city.
Briefing reporters later, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Muneer Khan said the overground network of the terror group had been identified but did not divulge any further information. Asked specifically whether the JeM was behind the attack, Khan said, “Such type of attacks have been carried out by this group only.” He said the terrorists were dressed in combat fatigues and entered the camp from an area adjacent to a residential colony by cutting the fence. “The slain terrorists were part of the larger Jaish group that had infiltrated earlier this year,” he said.
The IG added that three members of the same group were killed in an attack on district police lines in Pulwama on August 26. “Six to seven terrorists of this group are still at large. We have identified the overground network which is helping these terrorists move around,” he said.
According to Khan, all security installations were important and it was the preparedness of the security forces which repulsed the attack without causing any collateral damage. “We could have used aerial weapons but we did not want to cause any collateral damage. It was a clean operation and a fine example of coordination between various security agencies,” he said. The old airfield, being manned by the Indian Air Force, is also located in the area. Civilian air operations, which were suspended for nearly three hours, resumed at 10 am.
Piecing together the chain of events, police said militants entered the BSF’s 182 battalion headquarters and started firing in all directions. Three BSF jawans were injured in the beginning of the attack and one militant killed in the retaliatory fire. After this, the two remaining militants moved in different directions and took shelter in different buildings before being killed by security forces. The 182 battalion is entrusted with the security of the runway of the Srinagar airport.
A caller identifying himself as a JEM spokesman later told local news agencies that Jaish militants had carried out the attack.