Srinagar, Oct 3 (IANS) Suicide attackers of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit carrying guns and explosives stormed a BSF camp on Tuesday morning near the highly secured Srinagar international airport, triggering a gun battle that left three militants and a trooper dead, officials said.
The officials said an unknown number of militants in military fatigues around 4.30 a.m. broke into the Humhama-based 182 Battalion BSF camp that shares a wall with an air force station and is located in a hilly area.
The audacious attack claimed by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) — led by Masood Azhar, who is based in Pakistan and is one of the most wanted militants in India — is being compared to the January 2016 strike at the Pathankot airbase.
Four BSF troopers were also injured in the Srinagar attack and have been hospitalised.
The attackers breached four layers of security in the highly-protected area housing the Srinagar international airport and a posh neighbourhood where many of the state’s Who’s Who live.
This is the first militant attack in nearly 30 years of militancy that occurred so close to the airport which has always been in the radar of Pakistan-based militants.
Officials said the militants fired indiscriminately and threw grenades at security pickets before entering the BSF camp when it was still dark and the airport was yet to open for the day’s operations.
A police spokesman said one the attackers was shot down after the militants barged into the camp while two more were killed in the operation that was still on till early afternoon.
The body of an Assistant Sub-Inspector of the Border Security Force (BSF) was found during search operations.
Flight operations at the airport were disrupted in the morning and the road leading to the airport was sealed. Schools in the vicinity were also ordered to shut for the day.
Police said security personnel sealed all possible escape routes as a major operation jointly carried out by the Army para commandos, BSF, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and state police was launched to flush out all the attackers. Gun shots and explosions were heard hours after the attack.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh immediately called for a high level security meeting in New Delhi later on Tuesday to discuss the overall security situation in the state.