Was carrying powerful 5 kg IED to trigger terror strike
Had threads similar to IAF attack in Satwari last month: ADGP
JAMMU, July 23: In a major success, police early today shot down a drone which had flown 6.36 kilometers inside the Indian territory and was just 500 meters short of old Akhnoor bridge at village Gurha Pattan in Kanachak area of this district and recovered powerful five kg Improvised Explosive Device (IED) carried by the flying machine which was meant to cause major terror strike here.
The drone, which was six-winged hexa m-copter had similar threads used by the flying machines which dropped bombs at Indian Air Force (IAF) Station in Satwari in the wee hours of June 27 causing injuries to two IAF personnel and minor damage to the building.
The drone had assembled parts from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan which, according to police officials, is done to scuttle probe to prevent investigators from reaching to the manufacturer by the militants. Drone was sent by the cadre of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfit from across the Line of Control (LoC).
The drone was powered by four batteries–each having 25,000 MAH capacity. Three batteries were intact while one had been hit by the bullet and got jammed as a result the drone fell down. The drone was seven feet in diameter.
Significantly, old Akhnoor bridge was just 500 meters short of the site where drone was downed by the police personnel at Gurha Pattan around 1 am today.
Addressing a press conference this morning, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh accompanied by DIG Jammu-Samba-Kathua range Atul Goel and SSP Jammu Chandan Kohli said police had developed specific input that Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit will try to drop payload through drone along the border. Accordingly, an ambush was laid by the cops.
“Movement of the drone was observed when it started coming down to drop the payload and was fired upon by the police personnel to shot it down,” the ADGP Jammu said, adding five kg ready to use IED after fitting wires was recovered from it.
Police teams led by SP Operations Naresh Singh and SDPO Domana Kosheen Koul executed the operation. A Bomb Disposal Squad reached the spot to defuse the IED and see that no more explosive devices are fitted with the drone which had covered a distance of 6.36 kilometers when it was shot down. It was hovering over village Gurha Pattan of Kanachak to drop payload when brought down by firing. Significantly, sources pointed out, the village is just 500 meters from Old Akhnoor bridge.
Mukesh Singh said a major tragedy has been averted with recovery of powerful IED as it had to be planted by the militants somewhere in sensitive area to trigger blast and cause casualties.
“Analysis showed that the drone was six-winged hexa m-copter fitted with Flight Controller and Global Positioning System (GPS). Serial Number of the Flight Controller had difference of one digit from the drone which was shot down in Kathua last year which indicated that the outfits have purchased many Flight Controllers to keep sending the flying machines to this side,” Singh said, adding the drone had been assembled using parts of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Further, the ADGP said, the Strings used in dropping payload were also similar to the ones recovered from crater caused after blast at Indian Air Force Station in Satwari in the wee hours of June 27. This confirms that a drone was used to drop an IED at the Airport, Singh said.
According to the ADGP, the drone used in Kathua had entered 20 kilometres inside the border and the distance travelled by such flying objects depends on the weight of the payload.
The drones that dropped consignments of AK-47 rifles earlier in the border areas had a range of 0-12 kilometres from the border.
The recoveries of weapons dropped from drones in the border areas over the last one-and-a-half years included 16 AK-47 rifles, four M4 US rifles, 24 pistols, 15 grenades and 18 IEDs, he said, adding that currency to the tune of Rs four lakh was also seized.
During past one-and-a-half year, explosives dropped by at least 25-30 drone sorties have been recovered, both on spot as well as during transportation by the militants and many suspects have been arrested in this connection.
Replying to a question, the officer said the IED material was well packed and someone had to pick it up from the Indian side and trigger a blast.
“We waited for the person, but nobody came,” he added.
The ADGP said the JeM and the LeT are using drones for terror attacks and sending weapons to their operatives on the Indian side of the border. This information was obtained from those arrested in connection with around 24-25 such drone sorties in the last one-and-a-half years, he added.
According to the officials, the drone was flying seven to eight kilometres inside the border.
He said police was fully geared up for any kind of threat during August 15 celebrations.
“All vital installations, minorities, protected persons are being secured,” he said.
The incident at Kanachak indicated that there has been no let up in militants using drones to drop weapons to the Indian side from Pakistan to step up militant activities
After June 27 drone strikes at Air Force Station, several drones had been sighted near military installations including Kaluchak, Ratnuchak and Kunjwani. One of the drones was shot down by the troops at Pallanwalla while couple of others were fired upon by the BSF at Arnia and Ramgarh sectors. A drone had flown in Hiranagar sector also before returning to Pakistan.
A militant arrested by Jammu Police at Purmandal Morh was shifting consignment of arms and explosives to Kashmir in a truck after picking it up at Samba sector. This consignment had also been dropped by the drone.
Meanwhile, people tonight claimed to have sighted drones at Birpur in Bari Brahmana area of Samba district and Palli Morh in Kathua.
SHO Bari Brahmana Inspector Rajesh Sharma rushed to Birpur after getting report from the Sarpanch about movement of drone. The Sarpanch later said his daughter had observed light blinking at quite some distance. Police and security forces have been maintaining alert in the area.
In Palli Morh area of Kathua district, people claimed to have videographed movement of drone in their mobile telephones. Police have rushed to the spot for investigations.