SRINAGAR: Four suicide attackers carrying a massive arsenal of guns and explosives broke into a Border Security Force (BSF) camp near the Srinagar airport before dawn today and opened fire, killing a soldier. Three terrorists were killed in an eight-hour operation after which security forces stormed the campus for the remaining terrorist.
Flights were suspended at the Srinagar airport for over five hours and long delays through the day were anticipated. Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s “Afzal Guru squad” has claimed the attack.
The terrorists in military fatigues breached four layers of security at BSF’s 182 battalion at 3.45 am, when it was still dark. They fired indiscriminately and threw grenades. The soldiers retaliated and shot down one of the attackers.
Around 11.30 am, the forces launched a final assault for the terrorist still hiding in the sprawling, hilly BSF camp, which shares a wall with an Air Force station.
Home Ministry sources say there were intelligence inputs of an attack by Jaish terrorists.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed is believed to have sent over two dozen suicide attackers or fidayeen, who crossed over to India through the Jammu sector in August, sources say. Three terrorists were shot dead in Pulwama in August and three have been killed today, till now. Sources fear that “three or four” terrorists are still roaming free.
Terrorists were sent from across the border as the local terrorists’ backbone has been broken over the past few months, Home ministry officials say. A big indicator is that local support and stone-throwing at forces – which had become common during encounters with terrorists – has come down dramatically.
“Fidayeen attacks cannot be prevented, they can at best be contained, which the forces have done in this case,” said an official.
Gunfire and explosions were heard for hours as the forces, including Quick Action Teams and members of the Special Operations Group, fought the terrorists and cornered them.
Home Ministry sources say it is extremely worrying that the terrorists were able to cut through multiple layers of security in the most protected area of Srinagar. The BSF camp is also close to the technical airport used by the armed forces and VIPs.
There has been a spurt in infiltration attempts by terrorists from across the border over the past few weeks.
In sheer audacity, today’s attack has been compared to the one over a year ago in Uri, when 19 soldiers were killed as terrorists from Pakistan attacked an Army base in Uri. A few days later, the Army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control targeting staging areas for terrorists planning to attack Indian cities.