By late on Saturday evening, five terrorists and three security personnel were killed in a fierce gun-battle with security forces after a group of heavily-armed gang of terrorists attacked an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab.
The terrorists, who launched the attack before dawn on Saturday, were reportedly carrying a huge quantity of RDX. They made their way to the base from the back side where there is a jungle.
The combing up operation was on till late on Saturday, when the fifth terrorist was neutralised. The terrorists were believed to be backed by their handlers in Pakistan.
The attack comes just a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made unscheduled visit to Lahore.
The terrorists, however, failed to make a dent in the defence cordon at the Air base that is located close to the border with Pakistan as they met with effective response from the security forces, police and security officials said.
“I congratulate our armed forces and other security forces on successfully neutralising all the five terrorists in ‘Pathankot Operation’,” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
“The nation is proud of its brave security forces who have always risen to the occasion. I salute our forces on successful operation,” he said. “We have also lost security personnel in Pathankot attack. My heartfelt condolences to their families.We can never forget their sacrifice.”
“We have credible info about this attack being sponsored by some elements across the border,” said Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home. “Our Central agencies are working in coordination with Punjab Police.”
After the attack, security was tightened in all major cities, including Mumbai.
All political parties condemn the attack. “I strongly condemn terrorist attack in Pathankot. My deepest condolences to families of the brave soldiers martyred in attack,” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh said, “Elements who can’t stand peace carry out such attacks from time to time.”
“Damage could have been bigger but just because of timely alert we were able to contain them,” said Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal.
Indian Air Force said that intelligence inputs had indicated that there was a likelihood of attack.
“The likely plan of the terrorists to destroy valuable assets of the Air Force has been foiled. Currently the operation is going on,” it said. “Intelligence inputs had been available of a likely attempt by terrorists to infiltrate into the military installation in Pathankot area.”