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Two soldiers killed in terror attack on J&K Army camp, operation still on

Sunjuwan military station attack: Sources said three of the attackers have been killed, and the operation is still “in progress”. While no outfit has claimed responsibility so far, both the Army and police said the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was behind the attack.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Updated: February 11, 2018 8:56 am
Two soldiers killed in Sunjuwan military attack Outside Sunjuwan military station on Saturday. (Express Photo/Praveen Khanna)

Two soldiers were killed in a terror attack on the family quarters of the Sunjuwan military station here early on Saturday. While no outfit has claimed responsibility so far, both the Army and police said the Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was behind the attack. Sources said three of the attackers have been killed, and the operation is still “in progress”. FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES

The attack comes amid an alert across the state on a possible strike by the JeM, in view of the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9 and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhat on February 11. However, sources said, security agencies were focussing on Kashmir, and did not expect an attack in Jammu.

Confirming two deaths, a statement issued by the Army said “nine others, including five women and children, are injured, two of them being critical”. The Army identified the dead soldiers as Hony Lt Madan Lal Choudhary from Kathua district, and Havildar Habibullah Quereshi from Kupwara. State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri told the Assembly that the injured included Colonel Rohit Solanki, officiating commanding officer of 6 Mahar, Havildar Abdul Hamid, Lance Naik Bahadur Singh and Choudhary’s daughter Neha.

In pictures | Here’s how the attack unfolded

“The operation is still going on,’’ Director General of Police S P Vaid told The Sunday Express. “Intercepts suggest that the terrorists involved in the attack belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad group,” he said.

Two soldiers killed in Sunjuwan military attack Sources said three of the attackers have been killed, and the operation is still “in progress”. (Express Photo)

“Two to three terrorists are still out there. The actual number of terrorists involved in the attack will be known only once the entire area is cleared by the Army,” said Vaid. Asked if the attackers had come from within the state or directly from across the border, he said, “As of now, it isn’t known where they came from and how they reached this Army camp.”

Also read | J&K House erupts, pro-Pakistan slogan raised by NC MLA Mohammad Akbar Lone

The Army too said the attack was carried out by the JeM. “A search of their belongings confirms the terrorists to be from Jaish-e-Mohammad,’’ it said. “The terrorists, wearing Army combat dress, were carrying AK 56 rifles, large amount of ammunition and hand grenades.”

Saying that the “operation is in progress with extreme caution and restraint to safeguard the unarmed soldiers, women and children in the houses”, the Army said “most of the over 150 houses in the complex have been cleared and occupants moved to safety”.

Two soldiers killed in Sunjuwan military attack The Army too said the attack was carried out by the JeM. (Express Photo)

Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu, Vivek Gupta, said that “around 4:25 am, somebody called the station house officer after hearing gunshots in the area”. “By then, the terrorists had already sneaked inside the camp… The camp is spread over a vast area and it is difficult to pinpoint the place where the breach happened,’’ he said. “Jaish flags were recovered from the terrorists who have been killed,” he added.

“The quick response teams have cordoned off the area and isolated the terrorists, who are holed up in a few houses,” said an Army spokesperson. Army helicopters were pressed into service to track their exact location.

According to sources, four-five terrorists are suspected to have sneaked into the military station through its rear wall, which is broken at various places. After a brief exchange of fire with the sentry, they entered the residential complex.

Though the military station was attacked in 2003 also (nearly a dozen soldiers were killed), its rear wall is broken at several places, with just some tin sheets to keep out trespassers. Only two of its entrances have multiple layers of security.

Two soldiers killed in Sunjuwan military attack Spread over a radius of nearly 7 km, Sunjuwan military station serves as the headquarters of 36 Infantry Brigade. (Express Photo)

Sunjuwan military station is the third largest Army installation in the state, after Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur and Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. Spread over a radius of nearly 7 km, it serves as the headquarters of 36 Infantry Brigade. This is the second attack on a military installation on the outskirts of Jammu city in over a year now, after the attack at Nagrota in November 2016.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday spoke to DGP S P Vaid and took stock of the situation. “The DGP has apprised him of the situation. The MHA is closely monitoring the situation,” the Home Minister’s office tweeted. The NIA has been put on stand-by.

Meanwhile, a defence ministry official said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared a proposal worth Rs 1487.27 crore for perimeter security of multiple army establishments across the country. The work will be closely monitored by Army Headquarters, and is scheduled to be completed by December 2018.

This follows the recommendations of a committee headed by former Army Vice-Chief Lt General Philip Campose (retd) to review existing security infrastructure and suggest measures to strengthen security at defence installations, following the terror attack at Pathankot Air Force station in January 2016. It had recommended measures like strengthening security fences, improvement in security lighting, and installation of intrusion alarm system with sensors and surveillance. But the progress on these recommendations has been slow so far, as the ministry has been involved in a process of deep consultations with the three services.

(With ENS, New Delhi)

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  1. C
    C Subbarao
    Feb 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    If terrorists attack in public places very difficult to contain as it happened in USA Britain France etc. And it also happened in India including in Bombay. 26/9. But in present regime terrorists have dated to attack milatary areas be it Uri or Pathankot or present one in Jammu. What they said before elections and what they are doing. Does not situation worsened?
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    1. P
      P K ray
      Feb 11, 2018 at 3:15 pm
      we enjoy global travel. we like global leaders to visit us. we like to be 16 growth GDP nation! We are digital. we are busy on paytem! where is the time to take the bullet on chest ! hence let others take it.
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    2. P
      P K RAY
      Feb 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm
      We have crossed Boarder once and all done !!! We normally let others die.Time to act either way - Everyone survives or everyone suffers. Not keep talking days after days.
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      1. T
        TK Ramkumar
        Feb 11, 2018 at 1:34 pm
        Get rid of the chief of the terrorists set up responsible for this act in their territory.
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        1. Bits Singh
          Feb 11, 2018 at 11:53 am
          Modi is again on tourism tour.... to anugrate a temple or kirana shop in Abu dabi. He is stopped acting against Pakistan or did he ever act. Why he is not declaring as terrorists state and discontinue all ties and trade with them.These politicians wants this issue to be alive so that they can use them foe their political benefits to fool people.
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          1. Suhas Gha
            Feb 11, 2018 at 10:17 am
            Modi is flying. HM is in delhi talking to police chief on phone. He needs modi's nod to goo kashmir. Defence minister is busy hiding rafel deal documents. Mufty busy in filing fir against army. J k assembly accepts pakistan zindabad by mla in house. Mdijee, what next? Modjee, ur home minister and defence minister should have been in k k withn hours of attack. But without ur nod, both can not move their hand. And u r too busy in accepting a COLLER. Nw till parliament session start, u will not be in delhi. U will be euther in election rally or flying abrod. And after parliament session over, u will be in karnataka. Election rally.
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