New Delhi: In a coordinated blitz, terrorist suicide squads in army fatigue on Tuesday killed seven Indian army personnel, including two officers, and attacked a Border Security Force (BSF) patrol in two incursions in the Jammu region that marked a major security breach in Jammu & Kashmir.
All seven terrorists were gunned down and one BSF soldier suffered injuries.
The simultaneous incursions, which mark a serious escalation in militancy, took place in the towns of Nagrota, 20km north of Jammu, and Samba district, about 40km to the south of the town.
In Nagrota, terrorists opened fire at an Indian Army unit early on Tuesday morning, sparking a seven-hour-long gunbattle.
At the same time, terrorists also attacked a BSF patrol near the border in Samba. The three terrorists who were apparently trying to infiltrate through Samba were killed by the BSF.
The breach at Nagrota was the more serious one with four terrorists launching a random attack at the officers’ mess of the Army’s 16 Corps compound before storming the building at around 5.30am.
The Indian Army’s Northern Command stated that there was also a hostage-like situation to counter, when the terrorists entered two buildings, in the vicinity, which were occupied by officers’ families. The situation however, was quickly contained with security forces rescuing 12 soldiers, two women and two children.
“Wherever terrorists will attack, they will be dealt with effectively; our jawans are always alert,” said S.P. Vaid, additional director general, J&K Police.
Soon after the attack, authorities ordered all schools in the area closed and shut down the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said the attack showed a pattern in militant attacks—“statistics have shown that the attack is on military installations and not on the civilian population”.
By late Tuesday evening, reports confirmed that all seven terrorists, who were from the fidayeen or suicide squad, had been killed by Indian security forces.
Even as gunbattles raged in both districts, outgoing Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif, during his change of guard in Rawalpindi, sounded a grim warning to India, saying its “policy of patience was not to be mistaken for weakness”.
In stark contrast, his successor General Qamar Bajwa assured the media that the tense situation at the LoC would soon improve.