Pathankot terror attack: Terrorists hid overnight in airbase shed

Terrorists who attacked the Pathankot airbase last week spent up to 24 hours resting inside a disused Military Engineer Services shed as they prepared to launch their attack.

Written by Praveen Swami | New Delhi | Updated: January 13, 2016 9:39 am
Pathankot, Pathankot air base, Pathankot air base attack, pathankot air force base, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Air Force personnel, Pathankot Air Force personnel, Dhaki chowk Security personnel at the Pathankot airbase during PM Narendra Modi’s visit, Saturday. (Express Photo by: Gurmeet Singh)

The four terrorists who attacked the Pathankot airbase last week spent up to 24 hours resting inside a disused Military Engineer Services shed as they prepared to launch their attack, highly-placed sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have told The Indian Express. This raises the prospect that the attackers may have been aided by reconnaissance conducted earlier.

“From the evidence we’ve gathered,” an official familiar with the investigation said, “it’s pretty clear that the men broke open the lock on one of the MES buildings in a junkyard where disused equipment was stored, and made themselves at home.”

NIA investigators, the official said, have found evidence that the men had eaten a meal inside the MES shed, as well as signs they had moved furniture around to create space to sleep in the dusty building.

Watch video: Pathankot attack – the rise of Jaish-e-Muhammad

“The timeline we’ve built is based on study of the site, as well as questioning of multiple witnesses working in the airbase and civilians outside of it,” the official said.

Last week, The Indian Express reported that the attackers had jumped over the perimeter wall of the base by climbing a eucalyptus tree, and then laid a nylon rope after cutting the barbed wire atop the fence.

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“The best guess we can make,” the official said, “is that the men rested, waiting for dark to fall, and then moved at a time when they knew the guards would be tired, just as a shift of the guard was due to take place.”

“It is just not possible that the terrorists would have had the confidence to take such a long break unless they knew the MES yard was unguarded, and barely visited by base staff,” the official said.

Following their detection by IAF surveillance assets, the attackers ran into a building used by base guards, opening fire and killing five unarmed personnel.

Watch Video: How Wires Got Crossed in Delhi

The official said that while the interrogation of Punjab Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh was still underway, no evidence has surfaced that he was linked to the attack. “He has cooperated with investigations fully, sharing details of multiple trips to Thailand which were of a personal nature,” the official said. “However, there is no suggestion he had any connection to terrorism.”

NIA officials said they remain uncertain precisely how many attackers were involved in the strike. Four bodies have so far been recovered, along with four Kalashnikovs, three pistols and ammunition. Forensic samples of a chunk of charred material found in a burned-out billet, where fighting raged for two days, has been sent for tests to determine whether these were remains of a body.

“We’ve been going through the rest of the debris using a sieve,” said an NIA official, “but so far we’ve had no success in locating anything that looks like part of a weapon, nor bone fragments.”

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  1. S
    Sivaramakrishnan
    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:35 am
    @UFOJadu: I called Shringeri mutt priests. They said they can only do CHADDI Maha Yagna NOT Chandi Maha Yagna. I said I will send my friend UFOJadu to you. I am sure you have all the time in the world. They remained you to definitely come only in a CHADDI for that Yagna. Take your RSS friends for lower CHADDI fees!
    Reply
    1. S
      Sivaramakrishnan
      Jan 12, 2016 at 11:14 pm
      Ajit Dowal thought that it is a MASTER STROKE to ask Modi to pay a surprise visit to Nawaz Shariff. MASTER STROKE, he thought, because that wouldn't create any flutter among people of stan. And because it is the wish of Modi to visit all counties and keep a world record. Nawaz's birthday was the best opportunity. There are many such MASTER STROKES- invading China in 1962, invading East stan, sending IPKF to Eelam and ten paying a heavily price. ALL MASTER STROKES WERE DONE BY INCOMPETENT BRAHMIN DOICHE BAGS!
      Reply
      1. M
        Modi-ot_Slow_guns
        Jan 13, 2016 at 12:28 am
        How about developing RSS CHADDI ARMY. I am sure they can fight until their DK gets frozen. After their return they will be more useful as eunuchs in Rashtrapathi bhawans for N D Tiwari like governors and entertainers in Lodi Marg.
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        1. U
          Until-then
          Jan 12, 2016 at 11:07 pm
          Patankot..Patankot..Patankot. Enough of that KRAP Patankot. Nobody is bothered any more of Patankot! MODI IS BUSY PLANNING FOR NEXT TRIP TO KARACHI. Let me know when there is one more, Patankot 2.
          Reply
          1. M
            Modi-midi
            Jan 13, 2016 at 4:46 am
            Minutha Karkare, you are absolutely right. The black sheep is Modi himself.
            Reply
            1. M
              Modi-THE-BRAVE-LION-Of-India
              Jan 13, 2016 at 4:22 am
              Modi's visit to stan is a great achievement. It is like great Indian entering the cage of 100000s lions WHEN ALL THE LIONS WERE SEDATED, THAT TOO THE GREAT INDIAN TOOK ONE STEP INSIDE THE CAGE AND THEN IMMEDIATELY STEPPED OUT. THAT IS A GREAT SHOW OF BRAVERY BY MODI. AS BRAVE AS A BRAHMIN(FOR THE CUNNINGNESS). THAT GREAT INDIAN AND HIS BRAHMIN ADVISORY S ARE NOT EVEN AS MATURED AS A ROAD SIDE ANALYST. THEN THE GREAT INDIAN SACRIFICED 7 BRAVE(REAL) INDIANS.
              Reply
              1. R
                Ramesh Kumar
                Jan 13, 2016 at 6:51 am
                What sort of security these guys have the Airbase ? dont blame the enemy for not securing the base gates atleast.
                Reply
                1. K
                  Karunakaran
                  Jan 12, 2016 at 10:26 pm
                  The crouching, dokhla-eating Gujjubhai whose chin touches his chest, and his equally uneducated cabinet colleagues are letting down India very badly. They have no education. They have no abilities to prevent the free-fall of India's economy. In the past India was fortunate to have such genius economists as Mr Manmohan Singh. But the 31% of the voters who brought the dokhla-bhai to power have created a huge problem for India. India must prepare itself for the next Lok Sabha elections. Send the selfie-chaser Gujjubhai back to selling chai and dokhla at the railway stations. India must get ready to welcome Mr Nitish Kumar as the next PM. Mr Nitish Kumar has cl and substance. The crouching, dokhla-eating Gujjubhai whose chin touches his chest, is only good to run after the goras for selfies, and provide photoshopped black to pink images of himself to the media. Is is purely disgusting. Even the political leaders of Nepal and Maldives are too dignified to run after the goras for selfies.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Kaliyug
                    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:18 am
                    Lax and relaxed security measures inside the air force station seems to be something these attackers knew beforehand. Most terrorists will never take the gate to come inside, I am wondering if mongrel dogs could have been kept, I am sure they would have barked and alerted the guards. Do not trust anyone who is involved in this investigation, there are too many gaps int he story, there is a drug angle that is not being talked about. The border is porous.
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      disgusted
                      Jan 12, 2016 at 11:38 pm
                      He is part of the Jehadi propaa team.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        disgusted
                        Jan 13, 2016 at 12:26 am
                        Your hatred for Mr Dowal clearly shows you are a Jehadi propaist!
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          Deeply Concerned
                          Jan 13, 2016 at 11:55 am
                          Well looks like for us Indian there is no limit when it comes to showering hospitality for strangers. Not sure then for how many days and how many sta there and cooked, ate and p
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            dr harimohan
                            Jan 14, 2016 at 2:12 am
                            theres no doubt that we are suffering continuous incursions because of traitors inside India ,and like abused school kids we are crying to the bully himself to give us back our things or to the master who clearly supports the bully that he keeps troubling us ,we really hoped that Modi ji would make a no nonsense change in this atude ,what are we collecting proofs that stan is involved any child knows that and with all the proof what can we do to them nothing instead keep quiet start focusing our intelligence on our people to spot our traitors find out someone whos disgruntled with stan train them slowly quietly and send them back to give them a dose of their medicine or send a surgical team and give them a scare but this would be risky as we are not US or Israel the w world will back stan even though it is a rogue nation ,harm stan from the back use out IT experts to spoil their computers try to wreck their economy insidiously we need to use Chanakyan methods better late than never and stop this Ghulam ali rubbish or cricket diplomacy or birthday hugs what are we trying to prove our soldiers are dying like flies because of them and our innocents are being killed enough is enough that blot of a nations should cease to exist in this world even if we disappear
                            Reply
                            1. K
                              kulwinder
                              Jan 13, 2016 at 9:56 am
                              India lost its edge after 1984 golden temple complex attack stan is now stronger
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                anandap
                                Jan 13, 2016 at 12:53 am
                                What shame? Every Indian will be ashamed of themselves, and head down about our inefficient security system , set up and preparation which has been controlled by coward and callous mindset corrupt system ! Weep our dear India!
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  Me Marathi
                                  Jan 13, 2016 at 11:49 am
                                  Mani kutta aiyyar and salmaan khursh!!t should be thoroughly gagged and investigated. They were , just few days back , blabbering about seeking pukistani help to overturn Indian government. And now, this islamic jihadis....
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    minutha karkera
                                    Jan 13, 2016 at 3:49 am
                                    Ever since Delhi elections there is conspiracy to destabilise modi govt they orchestrated church attack and fake award wapsi before Bihar elections and now without insider help u cannot attack patankot its evident some one from within our country helped these terrorist
                                    Reply
                                    1. N
                                      Niladrinath Mohanty
                                      Jan 13, 2016 at 3:06 am
                                      Rajiv hi was not a brahmin neither Narendra Modi is.
                                      Reply
                                      1. N
                                        Nitin Yadav
                                        Jan 13, 2016 at 9:09 am
                                        For Sensitive sites like this, why arent we h ing 24X7 Surveillence Cameras? Why rely on people ? Cant we do some investments to protect out ets ? Why our comma does were not given bulketproof jackets ? There has to be some mole jnside who has helped the terrorists - lets focus on finding the mole before he does further damages. There should be rotaion policy in place
                                        Reply
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                                          PARKASH CHANDRA
                                          Jan 13, 2016 at 7:07 am
                                          PATHANKOT TERROR ATTACH: Our Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by paying a visit to stan, has opened a new chapter/life in this part of world of co-existence. PM has followed the footsteps of Hon'ble Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee that no enemy is enemy forever. Let us come closer. News appearing Terrorists were inside the Airport and remained there for 24 hrs before opening the front. It is admitted by Mr. Manohar Parrikar Union Defence Minister that our Securities failed and were contentedly slumbering. Also see H.T 09.01.2016 on “Halwara” and “Adampur” air bases. Boundary walls are half done, no barbed fencing while minimum height of 11 feet then barbed wire cross fencing of 3 feet’s. Wait for stan’s action on Terrorists and its Cooperation with India since solid proofs have been provided to stan. Without Prejudice.
                                          Reply
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                                            Deepak
                                            Jan 13, 2016 at 6:46 am
                                            hmmm... sleeping with the enemy ?
                                            Reply
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