5 terrorists, 3 jawans killed in gunbattle at Air Force base in Punjab

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Fresh firing reported in Pathankot during combing operation, more terrorists suspected to be hiding, says Defence sources.

In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed terrorists, suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at the Air Force base, leading to a fierce gunbattle in which three security personnel were killed along with five attackers.

Here are the live updates:

8.30 p.m.: Operation completed, five terrorists killed

7:45 p.m.: Home Minister Rajnath Singh confirms that all five terrorists have been killed in Pathankot.

7:43 p.m.: Enemies of humanity who can’t see India progress attacked Pathankot, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

6:43 p.m.: Fifth terrorist neutralised, combing operation continues.

6:30 p.m.: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar meets NSA, service chiefs

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar chairs a high-level meeting and he was briefed in detail by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on the attack.

The meeting was attended by all the three service chiefs and the Defence Secretary.

4:24 p.m.: Pakistan condemns the terror attack. In a statement issued in Islamabad, Pakistan’s foreign office extends heartfelt condolences to the government, people of India and the bereaved families. It also wished the injured people speedy recovery, Radio Pakistan reports. Read more

4:23 p.m.: The BJP says the resumed dialogue with Pakistan cannot be revoked due to “one attack” and accuses the Congress of “politicising” the Pathankot terror incident. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar bats for continuation of talks with the neighbouring country.

4:01 p.m.: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweets: “Salute remarkable valour & swiftness displayed by our Jawans while fighting coward terrorists. Nation feels safe because of their courage.”

3:18 p.m.: Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh condemns the terror attack, saying it was a clear attempt by rogue elements in Pakistan to sabotage the peace process, which must not be allowed to be happen. Read more

1.25 p.m.: Defence sources said the terrorists could not enter the technical area of the IAF station, which is the base for MiG-21 fighter planes. Army had positioned two columns (comprising about 50 men) and a team of Special Forces at the Pathankot Air Force station prior to the attack, defence sources said.

1.23 p.m.: Sounds of gunfire today woke up the residents of Dhaki area near the Air Force station here which was attacked by suspected terrorists from Pakistan today in which three security personnel along with four attackers were killed. The loud noise of helicopters deployed by Air Force as part of intensive search operations also kept residents alert in the area.

Following are some of the terror—related incidents that have taken place in Punjab between 2001 and 2016 (these do not include seizure of arms and ammunition during the period).

1 March 1, 2001: A 135—yard underground tunnel detected across India—Pakistan border in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
2 Jan 1, 2002: Three Army personnel killed and five others injured when a group of unidentified terrorists attacks them at a firing range in Damtal, close to Punjab’s border with Himachal Pradesh.
3 Jan 31, 2002: Two persons killed and 12 others injured in explosion in a Punjab Roadways bus at Patrana in Hoshiarpur district.
4 March 31, 2002: Two people are killed and 28 others injured in a bomb blast on Ferozepur—Dhanbad express train at Daroha, about 20km from Ludhiana.
5 Apr 28, 2006: At least eight persons are wounded in a bomb blast on a bus carrying 45 passengers at Jalandhar bus terminus.
6 Oct 14, 2007: Seven persons, including a 10—year old child, are killed and 40 others injured in a bomb blast in a cinema hall in Ludhiana.
7 July 27, 2015: Seven people, including a Punjab Police Superintendent, killed when three terrorists carry out a strike on a police station in Gurdaspur district. All three militants also killed.
8 Jan 2, 2016: Four terrorists and three security personnel killed when militants storm IAF base in Pathankot.

1.08 p.m.: As combing operations continued, with the forces suspecting more terrorists to be hiding, shots were heard again at around 11.30 a.m. Two blasts were also heard, which sounded like grenades. There was no official communication on the nature of the firing, even as army officers said that the area is being sanitised.

1.02 p.m.: The attack on Pathankot air base raises security concerns for Punjab as the state is witnessing a sudden surge in such activities after being peaceful for the last 20 years, Congress said. Further, with the incident coming on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent surprise visit to Pakistan to meet Nawaz Sharif, the party wondered whether he would take up the matter with his counterpart in the neighbouring country even as the ruling BJP said that the aim was to “constantly do the best” to deal with the situation. Read more

1.00 p.m.: Security has also been beefed up at Air Force Stations at Chandigarh and Halwara in Punjab and at the air base in Ambala. Vigil has also been stepped up at Chandimandir and at Ambala Cantt. Vehicles crossing through Army and Air Force areas were being checked by police and army personnel. Security at railway stations of both Punjab and Haryana has also been increased, officials said.

12.58 p.m.: A protest broke out in Pathankot town with the locals burning an effigy of Pakistan following the terror attack on Air Force base here. Hundreds of local residents carrying the effigy of Pakistan raised anti=Pakistan slogans close to the airport station where the attack took place. The locals set the effigy on fire and held Pakistan responsible for continued terror attacks in Punjab even as they demanded that stern action be taken against it

12.30 p.m.: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal along with DGP State Police, Suresh Arora, has rushed to Pathankot. “Chief Minister has rushed to Pathankot.Accompanying him is the Punjab Police DGP,” said CM Badal’s advisor and SAD General Secretary, Harcharan Singh Bains.

12.29 p.m.: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that the attack on Pathankot IAF base was the first major challenge for Prime Minister’s Pakistan plan and that the BJP will have to move beyond its stand on talks and terror to insulate the dialogue process.

12.28 p.m.: In view of the terror attack at Pathankot, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma reviews security arrangements at Qutab Minar.

12.14 p.m.: Officials said that in view of the attack, which comes after the terror strike in July last in Dina Nagar town in adjoining Gurdaspur district, security had been beefed up across the state and along its borders with neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir. Additional Police and other security personnel had been deployed around vital installations and key public places in the State. Police had set up check points and intensified checking of vehicles.

12.05 p.m.: We are with the Government in the fight against terrorism, we all must fight together, said Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Pathankot attack should be condemned outright, but that’s not enough, he added.

Mr. Patel also said “This happening after a week of PM meeting Nawaz Sharif raises serious questions.”

11.55 a.m.: An NIA team reached the spot after the Union Home Ministry has asked the central probe agency to keep a full investigation team in readiness as the case could be transferred to it, official sources said. Read more

11.54 a.m.: Security in Dehradun tightened after Pathankot attack.

11.51 a.m.: Fresh firing reported in Pathankot during combing operation, more terrorists suspected to be hiding: Defence sources. Read more

11.50 a.m.: Death toll rises to 3 after another Defense Service Corps jawan succumbs to his injuries.

We want good ties with Pakistan but a befitting reply will be given to any terror attack, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Read more

One Garud commando and 1 Defence Security Corps jawan were martyred in encounter with terrorists at Pathankot.

9.55 a.m.: Security was stepped up in the national capital today in the wake of the terrorist attack at an Air Force Base in Pathankot that left four attackers and two IAF personnel killed. Security was significantly heightened at the airport, railway stations, bus stands and other vital installations in the city. Vigil was also heightened in several areas, including popular market places, in South Delhi, Central Delhi and the VIP movement zone in Lutyen’s Delhi, a senior police official said. Special Police Commissioner (Law and Order) is taking stock of the situation.

9.40 a.m.: Terrorists had infiltrated into India 3 days ago, sources say they are from Bahawalpur in Pakistan

“We are here, we are vigilant and on standby,” says Abhinav Trikha (DC, Gurdaspur).

9.24 a.m.: Gunbattle between terrorists and security forces ends: Punjab Police ADGP (Law and Order) H S Dhillon. Area not sanitised yet, combing operation continues, said Dhillon.

Authorities said that the helicopters and other equipment at the Air base are safe. The technical area of the air force station is safe, police said, adding that entire area had been cordoned off.

9.15 a.m.: Efforts are to keep one remaining terrorist confined to a limited area so that no collateral damage is done, police said. The terrorists, with huge quantity of RDX in their possession, made their way to air force base from back side where there is a jungle, they said.

9.02 a.m.: Extreme security precautions were taken here in winter capital on Friday after sealing the Pathankot-Jammu national highway following terror attack in neighbouring Punjab. Union railway minister, Suresh Prabhu, who arrived in Jammu on Friday, is scheduled to inaugurate a multi-facility complex at Jammu railway station on Saturday.

“Pathankote-Jammu national highway has been sealed to ensure that no militant is able to sneak into the state from across Pathankote.

“Security has been beefed up in Jammu city because Union railway minister is scheduled to attend an inauguration here today (Saturday), a senior police officer told IANS here.

“BSF troops guarding the international border and the army guarding the LoC in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts have been cautioned to maintain extra vigil on the border” the official added.

8,55 a.m.: Suspected Pakistani terrorists attacked an Air Force Base here in Punjab, triggering an encounter in which four attackers and two IAF personnel were killed and 6 security men were injured.

8.24 a.m.: Two terrorists have been killed, and some people from our side are also injured: Pathankot MLA Ashwani Sharma

8.22 a.m.: Pathankot MLA Ashwani Sharma arrived at the site of terrorist attack.

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