Sunday January 3 (TIP): Five attackers and three members of the security forces were killed in an attack on an Indian air force base near the Pakistani border, officials confirmed.
Security personnel secured Pathankot base on Saturday, January 2 evening, after a battle lasting more than 14 hours. The fierce gunbattle claimed the lives of three securitymen, while five infiltrators were killed, the attack came days after the Indian and Pakistani leaders, Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif, met in Lahore to launch a surprise peace initiative.
The heavily-armed gunmen had entered the base dressed in Indian army uniforms.
“I congratulate our armed forces and other security forces on successfully neutralising all the five terrorists in ‘Pathankot Operation,” tweeted Home Minister Rajnath Singh after the operation ended.
Singh also offered condolences to the security men killed in the attack.
“We have also lost security personnel in Pathankot attack. My heartfelt condolences to their families.We can never forget their sacrifice,” he further tweeted.
“The nation is proud of its brave security forces who have always rose to the occasion. I salute our forces on successful operation in P’kot”, he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed the bravery of the security personnel on successfully neutralising all the five terrorists.
“Enemies of humanity who can’t see India progress, such elements attacked in Pathankot but our security forces did not let them succeed,” Modi said.
“Why it that there have been two attacks within five months in Punjab, a state that had not seen any terrorism activities over 20 years?” questioned Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.
No group has said it carried out the attack, which is being seen as an attempt to undermine those efforts.
Pakistan condemned the attack and called it a “terrorist incident”, adding that it remained committed to peace efforts with India.
Here are the key updates
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed the bravery of the security personnel.”Enemies of humanity who can’t see India progress, such elements attacked in Pathankot but our security forces did not let them succeed,” he tweeted.
- Home Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the security forces for the successful Pathankot operation. “I congratulate our armed forces and other security forces on successfully neutralising all the five terrorists in ‘Pathankot Operation’,” he tweeted.
- The attack is suspected to have been carried out by the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed
- Security forces neutralised five terrorists following an attack on the Indian Air Force Station in north Punjab today.
- Three Indian Force personnel were also killed in the encounter.
- An hour after the gunbattle to weed out the remaining terrorists ended, gunshots were again heard. Security forces said it is likely a fifth terrorist is still inside the premises of the air force base.
- Heavy firing could be heard from the IAF station area till 7.30 am.
- The attack began with gunfire around 3.30am on Saturday.
- Security forces were already on high alert over the past 24 hours after an incident in a nearby area where a senior police officer was abducted in his car late Thursday and later released.
Some Indian security officials suggested the Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was to blame.
India says the group is backed by Pakistan, but Islamabad denies this.
In July 2015 seven people were killed in a similar attack when gunmen stormed a police station in nearby Gurdaspur district.