Jammu, Apr 22 (PTI) An attempt by banned terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) to carry out a suicide attack ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit was foiled after two suspected Pakistani terrorists were killed here in an encounter on Friday in which a CISF officer also died, officials said.
According to initial investigation, the two terrorists entered the outskirts of Jammu city on Thursday after infiltrating from the international border in Samba district and were staying in a locality close to an Army camp. Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mukesh Singh said a major fidayeen (suicide) attack in Jammu has been averted with the elimination of the two heavily armed terrorists.
The officials said that suicide vests were also recovered from the two terrorists, implying that they were on a suicide mission with their likely target being the Sunjwan Army camp. The gunfight went on for nearly five hours. The operation began around 4.25 am on Friday when the two terrorists, who were apparently moving towards the Sunjwan Army camp, which has been witness to a terror strike in 2018, were spotted by the guards who were changing duties, the officials said.
Around the same time, a CISF bus carrying 15 personnel was proceeding towards the Jammu airport, which is being guarded by the paramilitary force. Apparently, in a knee-jerk reaction, the two terrorists lobbed a grenade towards the bus and sprayed it with bullets before escaping back into the nearby locality, prompting the security forces to lay a cordon around the area.
A senior Central Industrial Security Force officer said the terrorists fired at the bus and lobbed grenades, killing Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) S P Patel and injuring two other occupants. The force retaliated effectively. Later in a tweet, the CISF said its personnel were attacked by terrorists while going for an ongoing cordon and search operation. According to the police, the gunfight began when the terrorists opened fire on the search party. “Two terrorists were killed… they were carrying a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, which suggests that they were planning a fidayeen attack which was averted,” ADGP Singh told reporters.
Two AK-47 rifles, an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher and a satellite phone were also recovered from them, he said. He said the search operation is still on to clear the entire area. Singh said it is a matter of investigation what exactly was the target of the terrorists and if they had recently infiltrated from across the border. “The clear picture, including the identity and group affiliation of the slain terrorists, will emerge after a thorough investigation,” he said.
The officials said nine security personnel, including two policemen, were injured in the gunfight. A CISF personnel and a police personnel sustained grievous injuries. As the CISF troops retaliated, the terrorists fled and entered the house of Mahommad Anwar, the officials said. The security forces zeroed in on the house and killed one of the terrorists while he was moving towards the bathroom, where his associate had taken shelter, they said.
Efforts to neutralise the second terrorist took longer. He was killed in heavy gunfire and grenade hits, they added. Mobile internet services were suspended and schools in the vicinity of the encounter site were closed for the day as a precautionary measure. The officials said the slain terrorists are believed to be members of Pakistan-based JeM.
Earlier, ADGP Singh had said, “We had inputs about terrorists planning something (on the eve of the prime minister’s visit). A cordon was laid based on an input when a search party came under fire.” On February 10 in 2018, three JeM terrorists stormed the Sunjwan Army camp and in the subsequent gunfight, seven people, including six soldiers, were killed. All the three terrorists were also gunned down.
On National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, the prime minister is scheduled to visit Samba’s Pali village, 17 km from here, to address a gathering. This will be Modi’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir other than borders since the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state and its bifurcation in August 2019.
He had celebrated Diwali with Army jawans on October 27, 2019 in Rajouri and on November 3, 2021 in Nowshera sector in Jammu division.