Militants belonging to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed have claimed responsibility
In an incident reminiscent of the 2016 Uri attack, two heavily armed militants carried out a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in the Pulwana district of Jammu and Kashmir during the wee hours on Sunday – claiming the lives of four troopers, leaving behind two more with bullet wounds.
According to an armed force official, the militants belonged to the Pakistan-based terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) – who claimed responsibility for the attack. Reportedly the militants hurled grenades and stormed the 185th battalion camp of CRPF in Lethpora in the restive Kashmir Valley around 2 am.
“They were armed with under-barrel grenade launchers and automatic weapons. They were challenged by camp sentries,” said a CRPF official.
A gun battle began between the sentry personnel at the CRPF base and JeM militants as armed forces retaliated as soon as the attack took place. Three among the four martyred soldiers died of bullet wounds, while another armed force trooper lost life due to a cardiac arrest during the operation. The condition of the two wounded soldiers – who were rushed to a hospital – was later reported to be stable.
As exchange of fire continued following the infiltration, militants were holed up in a building block at the camp – where they were later gunned down. According to the CRPF, the main building of the camp comprises of three blocks – with Block 1 allotted to accommodate the families of the officials and the Block 3 having a hospital and a control room. Reportedly, the militants hit the Block 3 of the CRPF camp.
The CRPF, in a statement, on Sunday said that there are possibilities of similar attacks on other camps too, CRPF IG Ravideep Sahi said that there were intelligence inputs about the possible attacks on “security installations”.
Terming the attack as “unfortunate”, Director General of Police S P Vaid said, “There was an input from the last two-three days. They (militants) were trying. They probably could not get a place and time earlier. So, they struck last night.”
The deadly attack at the end of the year came days after the police neutralized wanted Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Noor Mohammed Tantray in a counter-insurgency operation at Samboora area in Pulwama sector of the valley. The terror mastermind – who was out on parole since 2015 – was one of the key operative of the terror outfit and was the brain behind several attacks in the valley, including the suicide attack at Srinagar airport earlier this year.
Tantray, the 47-year-old JeM divisional terrorist was a four feet two inches tall militant, who also walked with a limp and had become a major headache for the security forces in the valley. Having spent eight years in the Tihar jail, the Jaish militant rejoined militancy in 2015 and escalated terror activities since then. He was also a close aide of Ghazi Baba – who is accused to be the mastermind behind the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.