It seems that the terrorists who attacked an Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, Punjab, on Saturday before dawn were in touch with their “Pakistani handlers”.
Indications towards this came when it was ‘discovered’ that Toyota Innova vehicle, which the terrorists had first used on Friday, was hired by a call from a Pakistani phone number.
Sources told PTI that the security agencies were questioning the driver and trying to find out whether the Innova driver had been offering regular services to Pakistan-based smugglers who have links with the terrorists or was it a case of oversight by him.
The driver of the Innova was called to a particular spot near Pathankot where the terrorists boarded the vehicle.
The sources said that the car was used for travelling on an untarred road and dumped after a while as the rim of the vehicle got damaged.
The terrorist then hijacked an SUV (Mahindra SUV X500) in which a Superintendent of Punjab Police was travelling along with a friend and a cook.
The SP and the cook were forced to leave the vehicle while the friend, a jeweller, was taken as hostage.
The terrorists snatched a mobile phone from them and used it to dial the number in Pakistan which was used to call the driver of the Toyota Innova.
From this number, they had called their handlers thrice and once to a family member who was told that they were on a suicide mission.
Security agencies have found that from the Pakistani mobile number, the handlers were actively giving the directions to the terrorists.
Since the Pakistani number was under surveillance, security agencies were able to find out the possible target of the terrorists, leading to dispatching of 160 NSG commandos, army special forces besides others.