Tunnel dug using Chinese technology at IB detected

A building damaged in terror attack inside Army Unit at Nagrota. Another pic on page 6. —Excelsior Photo
A building damaged in terror attack inside Army Unit at Nagrota. Another pic on page 6. —Excelsior Photo

*Army chief reviews situation at Nagrota

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 30: Army tonight declared that operation inside 166 Artillery Unit at Nagrota was over and that all three terrorists, who had attacked the camp, have been eliminated while Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag visited the camp this afternoon for high level review of security situation with top Army commanders to take steps to prevent attacks on the Army units and other security installations.
Documents recovered by the Army from the possession of three slain militants revealed that they were part of `Afzal Guru Brigade’ of Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit. Though their identity hasn’t been established so far, they were believed to be Pakistanis and were in possession of huge quantity of arms, ammunition and explosive material.
The BSF, meanwhile, said that three militants, who were neutralized at the International Border (IB) at Chamliyal in Ramgarh sector of Samba district yesterday, had crossed into the border through 80 meters long underground tunnel and had planned to carry out sensational attacks on trains along Jammu-Pathankot National Highway using liquid explosive trinitroglycerin, filled in plastic bottles. BSF has seized five such bottle bombs from three slain militants.
After the operation was over at the Chamliyal BoP (border outpost), BSF checked the fence and there was no breach. Today morning during searches, the BSF personnel detected a small tunnel of the size of 2×2 meters. BSF had deployed ‘depth nakas’ across the fence and hence they could detect and neutralize the three militants. The tunnel was found in a field where farming is done and has soft soil, official sources said.
The tunnel is about 75-80 meters from the IB and about 35-40 meters from the fence.
Sources said there is “ample proof” and indications to say that the militants crawled through the tunnel to reach this side of the border.
Intelligence sources told the Excelsior that Pakistani Rangers have procured Chinese technology through which a small tunnel, like the one detected at Ramgarh, could be dug within couple of hours and used to push the militants.
“The Chinese technology had been used to dig the tunnel at Chamliyal through which three militants had infiltrated,” sources said, adding that bodies of the militants also showed that they had crawled through mud.
However, when the border fencing was found intact at the International Border of Chamliyal, the BSF became suspicious and started looking for the tunnel, which was finally detected this morning.
Sources said the tunnel was very small and the militants could cross it by crawling only.
The BSF would take up the matter with its counterparts — Pakistan Rangers about detection of tunnel but added that due to increased hostilities, the other side is not “getting in touch” for quite some time now.
Sources didn’t rule out the possibility of presence of more such tunnels on the border and steps were taken to detect and plug them.
Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra this evening visited the site of tunnel at Chamliyal and discussed the issue with senior officers of BSF and police.
He told reporters that a special team has been constituted for investigations into terror attacks and related issues. On tunnel, he said the matter was under investigation and he would be able to say anything only after the probe is completed.
“We know there are militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and other outfits across the LoC and IB, who try to cross over to this side whenever there is an opportunity. Our security forces are maintaining alert 24×7, which was the result that the militants were detected well in time and neutralized immediately thereafter,” Rajendra said, adding the militants try to infiltrate from nullahs, damaged fence and some time tunnels.
The DGP said security audit of vital installations and establishments is a continuous process.
BSF and Army had earlier also detected three tunnels on IB and LoC, the first one being a very long one, which was detected in July 2012 at Chalyari, Samba, the second one in August 2014 at Pallanwalla and third at RS Pura in March 2016.
DG BSF KK Sharma confirmed detection of the tunnel at Chamliyal at a press conference in New Delhi. He said the paramilitary force had “strong inputs” about possible infiltration bids by terrorists from across the IB following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads, and hence it was “in a position” to detect and neutralize the heavily-armed militants.
He said that since the increase of hostilities between the two sides, especially post the surgical strikes conducted by the Army across the Line of Control, BSF has killed 15 Pakistani Rangers and 10 militants while it lost five troops.
“For the last 15 days there has been no shelling along the IB. Post the surgical strikes we knew that infiltration attempts and attacks would increase along the IB which we exclusively guard and hence anticipating trouble we have been prepared against such attempts,” he said, adding it was pitch dark last night hence picking up movements along the IB was difficult through naked eye.
Sharma said BSF had “strong inputs that infiltration can be attempted from around the IB area and that is why we were in a position to effectively neutralize the three” yesterday.
The DG said the three terrorists were carrying huge arms and ammunition like three AK-47s, 20 full magazines, 517 bullets, an 8mm pistol, 20 grenades and a GPS set along with other items on them.
The BSF chief said there are inputs of a “grave threat” to security establishments and hence the forces have beefed up and reviewed camp and perimeter security.
Meanwhile, with the killing of three Pakistani militants at Chamliyal in Ramgarh sector of Samba district yesterday, BSF has averted major catastrophe as material available with the infiltrators revealed that they were planning to target trains and rail track on Jammu-Pathankot National Highway using plastic bottle bombs filled with trinitroglycerin.
The militants had infiltrated to carry out a chain of terror attacks by blowing up running trains and tracks with chained IEDs and hard to detect liquid explosives, sources said.
Sources said the trio was carrying five bottles of liquid explosive trinitroglycerin.
“Militants had infiltrated to carry out big incidents. Their design was to blow up rail tracks and trains here as BSF recovered chained IEDs and liquid explosives”, sources said.
They were out to carry out a chain of big impact terror incidents including blowing up of “running trains” and causing fire in trains as chain IEDs and liquid explosive are meant to blow up tracks and cause fire, sources said.
“Had our troops not successfully contained and eliminated these heavily armed terrorists with huge stores of explosive material, they could have caused massive damage in the mainland”, they said.
“It was only because of BSF’s multi-tier security cover that this calamity was averted,” they said.
Apart from arms, ammunition and explosive stores, BSF recovered 10 Improvised explosive Devices (IEDS) including five liquid type IEDs and three IED waist belts, five chain IEDs from three slain militants along IB in Chamliyal belt of Ramgarh sector in Samba district yesterday.
“Chain IEDs are mainly used to blow up rail tracks and hit running trains. The five bottles of liquid explosive contained trinitroglycerin. It is used to cause explosion and trigger fire”, sources said.
Terrorists are resorting to use of undetectable liquid explosives like nitroglycerin now,  they said.
Nitroglycerin can be used for dynamite, explosive devices and poison. Invented in 1847, it is made by adding acids to glycerin. Viscous and clear, it is easy to be concealed in lotion or shampoo bottles.
Physical shock can start a chain reaction that breaks molecules down into carbon dioxide, water and oxygen. The breaking of the bonds between the atoms creates an explosion, he said.
The Jammu-Pathankot railway line is 20 kms away from the International Border (IB).
There have been several attacks targeting trains and tracks in Jammu-Samba-Kathua belts in the past.
It may be recalled that on 27 July, 2015 three gunmen dressed in Army uniforms opened fire on a bus and then attacked the Dina Nagar Police Station in Gurdaspur district of Punjab after planting five chain linked bombs (IEDS) on the Amritsar-Pathankot line near Parmanand railway station, 5 kilometers from the site of the attack.
A railway trackman, while patrolling along the railway track between Dina Nagar and Jhakholari railway stations, spotted five bombs wired to a small bridge on the Amritsar-Pathankot line just before a passenger train was due to cross the bridge.
The train stopped 200 meters from the bombs. The attack resulted in the death of three civilians and four policemen, including a Superintendent of Police. Fifteen others were injured.
All three attackers were killed in the operation, which  lasted almost 12 hours.
Militants crossed into IB and triggered bomb blasts on Jammu railway station in August 7, 2001 killing 12 people and injuring 29.
Similarly, infiltrating militants blew up a track in Samba on October 26, 2003. On February 10, 2000, infiltrating militants triggered blast in Shalimar Express train in Satwal in Kathua district killing five persons.
The infiltrating militants were also carrying 10 hand cuffs with a design to carry out hostage taking.
BSF has recovered from them 10 hand cuffs in plastic. They were planning to carry out hostage taking as part of engineering terror incidents.
Three AK-47 rifles, a pistol, 20 magazines, 514 AK rounds, a pistol magazine, 16 pistol rounds, 31 live grenades, 10 IEDS including 5 IED waist belts, five chain IEDs (used to blow up railway tracks), Global Positioning System (GPS), one mobile, two wireless sets with chargers, 2 knives, 2 dressing rolls, 2 jackets, 3 bags, one head gear, one lighter, 3 gloves, 5 dry fruit packets and Pakistan made eatables were recovered from the slain terrorists in Ramgarh sector yesterday.
Meanwhile, encounter at 166 Artillery Unit in Nagrota town was declared as over by the Army tonight. It put the casualties figure at 10 including seven brave Army soldiers, two of them Majors, and three terrorists.
“Three terrorists had attacked the camp and all of them have been killed yesterday,” sources said, adding there was no fresh firing since yesterday but Army took its time to sanitize the entire Unit and declare it safe after defusing “blind bombs” (unexploded shells), which had been left behind by three terrorists.
They said bodies of all three terrorists have been recovered but not identified so far. However, the trio were believed to be Pakistanis. Documents recovered from the militants revealed that they were part of ‘Afzal Guru Brigade’ of Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit.
Sources said the Bomb Disposal Squad of the Army cleared entire Unit of  ‘blind bombs’ (unexploded shells) during the day safely and sanitized the camp after which the operation against the militants was declared as closed.
Seven Army soldiers including two Majors were martyred in the attack yesterday while all three attackers were killed.
Meanwhile, Army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag visited Nagrota Army camp this afternoon and reviewed situation with senior Army commanders of Northern Command and Nagrota based 16 Corps. He reviewed preparedness of the Army and called for thwarting such terror attacks immediately to avert casualties on the Army side.
Gen Suhag returned to New Delhi this evening.


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