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Terror strikes Punjab, SP among 8 dead, 3 militants killed

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Gurdaspur:  Three heavily-armed fidayeen in army fatigues, believed to have come from Pakistan, today sprayed bullets on a moving bus and stormed a police station, killing eight persons, including an SP, while all the terrorists were gunned down in a day-long operation.

In the first major terror attack in the state in eight years, the terrorists, suspected to be members of either Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) or Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), launched a pre-dawn strike targeting a roadside eatery, passenger bus and later barged into the Dinapur police station.

The terrorists killed eight persons– three civilians, Superintendent of Police (Detective), Baljit Singh, a Punjab provincial service officer, two home guards and two policemen. The toll may go up as some of the 15 injured were in a serious condition.

All the three militants were killed in the exchange of fire with security forces at an abandoned building adjacent to the Dinanagar police station.

Though there was no official word on who the attackers were, but they are suspected to have sneaked into India from Pakistan through the unfenced border between Jammu and Pathankot or Chak Hira in Jammu district.

Earlier this year, terrorists belonging to JeM whose fidayeen combatants, clad in Army fatigues, stormed a police station in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua District on March 20 killing six persons, including three security force personnel.

“The operation is over,” a top Punjab police official said at the end of a fierce gunbattle involving Punjab police and commandos of the elite Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) that lasted nearly 12 hours.

Combing operations continued for some time after the multiple attacks in which 15 others were injured.

Weapons and a Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment were recovered from the building where the terrorists were holed up.

According to Punjab Police IG (Counter Intelligence) Gaurav Yadav, SP Baljit Singh succumbed to bullet injuries sustained in the gunbattle.

Police said out of those brought to civil hospital at Gurdaspur, seven seriously injured were referred to Amritsar. They were aged between 15-55 years.

Three militants were killed in the operation, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Abhinav Trikha said.

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