Srinagar, Oct 3 (IANS) Suicide attackers of the Pakistan-based JeM terror group stormed a BSF camp with guns and explosives near the Srinagar airport on Tuesday morning, triggering battles that left all three attackers and a trooper dead.
Four BSF troopers were injured and were hospitalized.
The militants, dressed in military fatigues, broke into the 182 Battalion Border Security Force camp in Humhama area at around 4.30 a.m. The BSF camp shares a wall with an Air Force station and is located in a hilly region.
The attackers breached four layers of security in the highly-protected zone which houses many of Jammu and Kashmir’s Who’s Who.
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 in Punjab.
This is the first militant attack in nearly 30 years so close to the airport.
Officials said the militants fired indiscriminately and threw grenades at security pickets before entering the BSF camp where most inmates were asleep. The airport closeby was yet to begin the day’s operations.
Police said one of the attackers was shot dead first and the other two were killed later in an operation that lasted several hours. By then, the terrorists had killed BSF Assistant Sub-Inspector B.S. Yadav.
Flight operations at the airport were disrupted in the morning and the road leading it was sealed. Schools in the vicinity were ordered shut for the day.
Inspector General of Police Munir Khan said the JeM was responsible for the attack and such attacks would continue “as long as Pakistan is our neighbour”.
“It is the same group whose militants also carried out an attack in Pulwama town earlier,” he told the media. He said the attackers had sneaked into India from Pakistan in July-August.
“As long as Pakistan is our neighbour, such attacks will keep happening.”
Khan, who heads the police force in the Kashmir Valley, denied that there had been a security breach that led to the attack.
“As long as militancy is there, the militants can continue to plan such attacks. The operation could have been finished much earlier had we used aerial weapons.”
He said the militants entered through the Friends Enclave residential area and that police had identified an overground worker who assisted them. “We are now acting against him.”
Security personnel sealed all possible escape routes as Army commandos, the BSF, the Central Reserve Police Force and police launched a joint operation to flush out all the attackers. Gun shots and explosions were heard hours after the attack.