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Terrorists attack IAF base; 3 securitymen, 4 terrorists killed


Pathankot : In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at an Air Force base here in Punjab, leading to a fierce gunbattle in which three security personnel were killed along with four attackers.

The terrorists, who struck just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled visit to Lahore, could not, however, penetrate the defence cordon at the Air base which is located close to the border with Pakistan as they met with effective response from the security forces, police and security officials said.

The attack by terrorists, suspected to belong to JeM outfit, took place at around 3.30 am and three security personnel, including a Garud commando of the IAF, were killed in it, defence sources said, adding four terrorists were also killed by the security forces within five hours.

But, more terrorists were suspected to be still on the loose as gunshots were heard during the subsequent combing up operation, defence sources said.

IAF was using its two attack helicopters to assist the joint team of ground troops to neutralise the remaining terrorists, the sources said.

Authorities said helicopters and other equipment at the Air base are safe. The technical area of the Air Force station is safe, police said.

The terrorists, with huge quantity of RDX in their possession, made their way to the base from the back side where there is a jungle, they said.

But they could not go beyond the ‘langar’ (eating place) near the outer perimeter of the IAF complex as the security forces were ready to take them on, the sources said, about the operation which was supervised directly by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Anticipating an attack after some armed men abducted an SP of Punjab Police on Thursday night, a team of NSG commandos had been rushed here last night itself after the NSA held a series of meetings with the Army Chief and top IB officials yesterday. An army detachment was also positioned at the Air base, the sources said.

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