BSF camp near Srinagar Airport attacked; 3 fidayeen, ASI killed

Security personnel take positions during terror attack on BSF camp in Srinagar on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Security personnel take positions during terror attack on BSF camp in Srinagar on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Oct 3: Security forces foiled a pre-dawn attempt by the Jaish-e-Mohammed to storm a BSF camp near the high-security Srinagar airport today, killing all three militants in an operation that also claimed the life of an ASI of the force, police said.
Police said the three terrorists who attacked the BSF camp had been “neutralised”.
“We are carrying out search operations inside the premises to rule out the possibility of planting of explosives,” they said. Click here to watch video
BSF Assistant Sub-Inspector B K Yadav, 50, was killed and three jawans injured when the militants entered the BSF battalion headquarters at Gogoland, adjacent to the airport.
Officials in the know of developments said there was prior intelligence that a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative, identified as ‘Noora Trali’, had brought in a suicide squad into the city.
The old airfield, being manned by the Indian Air Force, is also located in the area.
Civilian air operations, which were suspended for nearly three hours in the morning, resumed at 10 am. “I personally went to the airport and ensured that the public does not face any problems in catching the aircraft,” a police officer said.
Piecing together the chain of events, police said militants entered the BSF’s 182 battalion headquarters and started firing in all directions.
Three BSF jawans were injured in the beginning of the attack and one militant killed in the retaliatory fire, a police official said. After this, the two remaining militants moved in different directions and took shelter in different buildings before being killed by security forces.
Yadav’s body was recovered during the mopping up operations.
The jawan, who joined the border guarding force in 1987, hailed from Bhagalpur in Bihar.
The 182 battalion is entrusted with the security of the runway of the Srinagar airport.
Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Pakistan-based terror outfit militant outfit, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A caller identifying himself as a spokesman of the outfit told local news gathering agencies that Jaish militants had carried out the attack.
Adjacent to the camp is the old Srinagar air field which is been run by the Indian Air Force. The area also houses training centres of the BSF and CRPF. Schools in the vicinity of the airport have been closed.
While addressing a press conference after eliminating the three fidayeen, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Muneer Ahmad Khan, flanked by the IG BSF Sonali Mishra, said that the Fidayeen entered the BSF camp by cutting the fence between Friends Colony and Gogoland. It may be mentioned here that many top former bureaucrats, police officials and politicians live in Friends Colony, which is regarded as high security area.
“They cut the fence and taking advantage of darkness entered administrative block and GOs Mess. One of them was eliminated outside the building. They were wearing Army uniform and two of them were later killed in a brief gun fight”, said Khan.
The IGP said the operation was a quality example of coordination between the various security agencies. “The operation was delayed to ensure zero collateral damage as there are residential houses near the camp. The operation which started at 4 am ended at 1 pm,” he said.
Khan said that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) is responsible for the attack. “The group is from JeM and they have taken responsibility as well”, he said.
“They had infiltrated in July-August from Shakkarpur in Jammu. Three of them were killed in Pulwama when they attack Police Lines last month. They are now left with 6-7 members and we are looking for them and we will eliminate them”, he said.
The IGP said that the JeM is a threat as they are known for doing such type of attacks. “We will deal with them differently”, he added.
Khan said that the Over Ground Workers (OGWs) network of Jaish has been identified and they know who provided them logistics for reaching the airport and DPL Pulwama.  “We have started acting against them”, he added.
The IGP said that such type of attacks are nothing new and they will keep happening as long as Pakistan is our neighbor and militancy is there. “There was no attack on the airport, contrary to some media reports. This was not a setback. Attack was repulsed very effectively. All these things will keep happening, as long as Pakistan is our neighbour. These attacks will continue till there is militancy in Kashmir”, he said.
Khan identified as the BSF officer killed in the attack as Assistant Sub-Inspector B K Yadav. He said that identity of militants is being ascertained.
Meanwhile, Operation against militants, who are suspected to be holed up in forests continued in Rampur sector of Uri area in Baramulla district of north Kashmir on second consecutive day after two infiltrators were gunned down by army yesterday along the Line of Control.Army’s Rampur Brigade Commander, Brigadier VK Nambiar and Commanding Officer of 21 Sikh, Col Ashutosh Mehta briefed reporters today about counter-infiltration operation in Rampur sector. Brigadier Nambiar said army’s Line of Control battalion two days ago noticed some movement near the fence.
“They felt that it could be enemy terrorists’ movement. When they were seen from close range, the troops were fired (by militants). The fire was retaliated. After firing, we felt the enemy has been hurt and after searches yesterday, we found bodies of two terrorists,” he said.
Colonel Ashutosh Mehta said that the soldiers had to search entire area after firing “because this area is very difficult”. “It is made up of mountains and jungles, so it is not easy to search. So yesterday, we found bodies of two terrorists during searches and arms. The main recovery is two AK 47s, one pistol with silencer attachment and some grenades, some radio sets and some ammunition. Rest are food items,” he said.
In reply to a question with regard to identity of two slain infiltrators, the Commanding Officer said that they have not recovered any such thing or paper from militants by which their outfit affiliations could be established. Asked about the number of militants that were part of the group which attempted infiltration, he said: “We think it was a group of three militants and two have been gunned down while searches are on for another one. The operation is on.”