In first cross-LoC strike of 2017, terrorists kill 3, escape under mist cover

Intelligence officials in New Delhi said the failure to locate the terrorists could also mean they had gone back the way they came, across the LoC.

Written by Arun Sharma , Praveen Swami | New Delhi/nadbehra (jammu) | Published:January 10, 2017 4:19 am
Akhnoor, Akhnoor attack, terrorist attack, loc attack, loc strike, 2017 attacks, 2017 terrorist attack, kashmir, J&K, jammu kashmir, akhnoor news, army, indian express news, india news A security checkpost at Jogwan near Battal, Monday. Source: Arun Sharma

INTELLIGENCE AND police services have warned that the terrorists responsible for killing three people in Monday morning’s attack on a road-construction crew near Akhnoor, the first cross-Line of Control strike in the New Year, could carry out further strikes on civilian or military installations around the nearby city of Jammu, government sources told The Indian Express.

The 1.30 am strike, preceded by Research and Analysis Wing warnings issued last week, sparked off searches by multiple Army and police units that were continuing as darkness fell. “It’s like they have disappeared into the mist,” said an officer familiar with the operation.

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Intelligence officials in New Delhi said the failure to locate the terrorists could also mean they had gone back the way they came, across the LoC. “A two-way crossing of the LoC after a fire-exchange would obviously suggest there are some very serious issues with security, which need to be addressed,” said a senior government officer.

Army sources said the terrorists entered the first barracks inside the General Reserve Engineering Force detachment stationed at Battal — a hamlet outside the village of Jourian, scene of one of the major tank battles of the 1965 war, and perched on a strategically key axis on the LoC. The terrorists opened fire on the four men inside the barracks, and then set fire to equipment, said sources.

The casualties, Army officials said, would have been substantially higher, had ten other workers housed there, all local residents, not still been away on their weekend break.

“A vehicle had reversed into the gate of the barracks complex last week, destroying it completely. There was no guard posted there, either,” said an official.

In a second barracks some metres away, ten other men survived by locking themselves inside the building. “We heard the terrorists shouting abuses in Punjabi against India for more than half an hour, as they broke open the locks on adjoining buildings,” police sources quoted one of them as saying.

Police identified those killed as Ramesh Topno, from Jharkhand, and Salman Khan and Abdul Aziz, both from Uttar Pradesh. A fourth man, Uttar Pradesh resident Abdul Aziz, sustained gunshot injuries. All four were employed on daily wages, said sources in the J&K government.

Following the exchange of fire, local residents told The Indian Express that a grenade explosion was heard outside Battal near a spring where troops fill water, before the terrorists disappeared into the woods behind the village.

Local military units, Army sources said, responded to the exchange of fire early, with troops from a company of the Madras Regiment, stationed some 500 metres away, calling in support from their parent unit and elements of an Engineering detachment opening fire in the direction of the terrorists.

Defence Ministry public relations officer Manish Mehta said the Army had “cordoned off the entire area” following the attack, blocking routes of exit and entry.

“It’s possible that this early response led the attackers to leave the scene quickly,” said a military officer familiar with the operation, noting that the terrorists had left three hand grenades, four loaded magazines of ammunition and a bottle filled with a liquid suspected to be the incendiary trinitroglycerine.

Government sources said that military units had been advised to be on high alert following a Research and Analysis Wing alert issued last week, warning of an infiltration attempt involving the Jaish-e-Muhammad, to be launched across the LoC from the region near the Pakistani city of Sialkot, west of Jammu.

RAW had issued similar alerts before the terrorist attacks on the IAF base in Pathankot and the XVI Corps Headquarters Nagrota, both involving the Jaish-e-Muhammad — and both proved accurate.

Low visibility along the LoC in the Akhnoor sector, cut across by the Chenab river and overlain by marshes, would have made infiltration relatively easy during the last several days, said a military source stationed in the region.

There is also no clarity, so far, on why the terrorists picked a militarily-insignificant target. There are several high-profile military installations in the immediate vicinity, including the 191 Brigade Headquarters, some 5 km away, while Jammu city is only a short drive away.

“It is possible that the attack was intended to send a message rather than inflict heavy casualties,” said an intelligence officer. “The idea may have been to show that the Pakistan Army will keep up pressure along the LoC, irrespective of the change of guard at its helm and threats from India.”

General Bipin Rawat, India’s new Army chief, had in a recent interview, had appeared to suggest New Delhi might authorise further cross-LoC attacks if terrorists in Pakistan “continue to disrupt the situation on our side of the Line of Control”.

“The demonstration of the surgical strike was just one such means. We are working on other such methodologies,” he had said.

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  1. S
    Satyaki
    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:56 am
    Waiting for modiji's next speech. What an incomp
    Reply
    1. S
      Satyaki
      Jan 10, 2017 at 2:58 am
      What an incompetent loud mouth modiji is. Do some work for God's sake
      Reply
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        Ash
        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:36 am
        SO THE SENSORS THAT RAJNATH SINGH PROCURRED FROM ISRAEL AND PLANTED ALONG LoC is not working. IT PROVES THAT ISRAELITES AS ARE DUD AS BARB-ARYAN BRAHMINS. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I wouldn't say that. Brahmins are very clever than Israelites. Because they use non-brahmin tax money to procure from Israelites. It's always a kick to get the c o n do m and the pleasure for free, isn't it, for them.
        Reply
        1. A
          Ash
          Jan 10, 2017 at 3:37 am
          Then Monkey-bath
          Reply
          1. A
            arc
            Jan 10, 2017 at 7:29 am
            This was the real surgical strike. See how neatly a bunch of non existent terrorists (they don't east because Feku Farrikar and Farjunath Singh finished them off in a farzical strike) came and killed three hapless patriots and disappeared into the mist.
            Reply
            1. A
              Avinash
              Jan 10, 2017 at 2:38 am
              I thought terrorism was stopped due to demonitization.
              Reply
              1. C
                cj
                Jan 10, 2017 at 1:15 am
                new year gift from feku
                Reply
                1. A
                  Anon
                  Jan 10, 2017 at 7:44 am
                  Death of Bsf jawanslt;br/gt;*party at IE officelt;br/gt;*Lets blame modi
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Mayur Panghaal
                    Jan 10, 2017 at 4:59 am
                    Looks lie fekus demonitization didnt do the jobe on feku !! One more round of demonitization will definitely do the job.
                    Reply
                    1. V
                      Vivek narain
                      Jan 10, 2017 at 3:48 am
                      Muslim soldiers should be igned to the risky frontiers.
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        Sashi Pillai
                        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:41 am
                        Some serious issue with security we keep hearing that after every attack ,. This country is sick with these lame excuses if the stan sponsored terrorist attack then do the same to them instead of lame excuses just heard a BSF jawan saying they are being fed poorly it is time to take action against these people and senior officer who do not care.
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Sanju
                          Jan 10, 2017 at 12:43 am
                          There should be news hard core Indians cross border and nuke stan........
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            s ramji
                            Jan 10, 2017 at 6:57 am
                            B prepared for demonetisation of rs 2000 notes,if Pak carries out any surgical strikes,
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              s ramji
                              Jan 10, 2017 at 6:55 am
                              So for all the TALL claims and supercessition of General, Pak has done Surgical strike on land like modi parikar did, and returned home safely without even being spotted or wounded, don't know what Rawat will b asked yo do now
                              Reply
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