Two explosions were reported at the high security technical area of Jammu airport during the wee hours of Sunday, officials said adding that the blasts occurred within a gap of five minutes. With the Jammu and Kashmir Police suspecting the use of drones with payload to carry out blasts at the high-security Air Force Station, the incident marks the entry of new type of warfare in the valley. Drones have earlier been used to transport and drop weapons but this is the first incident in the 30-year-long insurgency in J&K when drones have been used to carry out an attack.
According to the DGP Dilbagh Singh the drones are suspected to be used in both the blasts at the Air Force Station Jammu. The explosions caused a minor injury to two persons. The blasts took place at 1.37 a.m. and at 1.42 a.m. The locals say the sound of the blasts was heard from a distance of two km.
The police also said an IED weighing 5-6 kgs was recovered by Jammu police from Narwal area. The police said that a major terror attack has been averted with the recovery and the suspect detained in the case, is interrogated. The police say more suspects are likely to be picked up in this foiled IED blast attempt.
Let’s have a look at what all we know so far about twin blast at IAF Station in Jammu Airport:
- Two explosives-laden drones crashed into the IAF station at Jammu airport in the early hours of Sunday, perhaps the first time that suspected Pakistan-based terrorists have used unmanned aerial vehicles in an attack, officials said.
- Two Indian Air Force personnel were injured in the explosions that took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other.
- The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-storey building at the high security technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari area of the city. The second one was on the ground, the officials said.
- “The attack at the IAF station in Jammu is a terror attack,” Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbag Singh told PTI. The Indian Air Force is probing whether the two low-intensity explosions were part of a terror attack, people familiar with the defence and security establishment said. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's office said he spoke to Vice Air Chief, Air Marshal HS Arora over the explosions.
- A suspected terrorist was arrested along with some explosive material. The suspect, a resident of Banihal, was arrested from Trikuta Nagar area on the outskirts of the city late Saturday night.
- An alert has been sounded in Punjab's border district of Pathankot on Sunday after two explosives-laden drones crashed into the high-security Indian Air Force station at Jammu airport, officials said. Tight vigil is being maintained near key installations in Pathankot, they said.
- Five years ago, the Pathankot Air Force base had come under terror attack. Patrolling has been strengthened near sensitive areas in and around Pathankot and additional forces have been deployed, police said. “We are on our guard in view of the situation. Whenever there is an incident of this kind, maximum alert is sounded in neighbouring areas," Pathankot's Senior Superintendent of Police, Surendra Lamba, said. “We are checking vigorously our inter-state border movement. We have deployed additional forces also,” he said, adding, specialised commandos and SWAT teams of Punjab Police are being deployed strategically.
- Checking of vehicles headed to Jammu and entering Pathankot from J-K side has been intensified, Lamba said.
- Various probe teams including that of the IAF and National Investigation Agency (NIA) have also reached the Air Force station. Jammu airport is a civil airport with the runway and the ATC under the IAF. As per sources, the IAF has instituted an inquiry into the matter and initial assessment has suggested that a small drone was used for the blast.
- After the attack, senior officers of the Border Security Forces (BSF) have reviewed the security situation along the International Border, which has been put on high alert.
- While officials were probing the drone attack, another major strike was averted when a person, probably owing allegiance to the banned Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), was arrested along with an IED weighing around six kg, the director general of police said. The person was tasked with triggering the IED in a crowded place. “The suspect has been detained and is being interrogated. More suspects are likely to be picked up in this foiled IED blast attempt," Dilbag Singh said.
- The Airports Authority of Jammu said in a tweet that all flight operations were being conducted as usual. “Total 16 flights scheduled for the day departing to Delhi, Srinagar, Leh and Gwalior. Only two flights G8 185 and SG 963 cancelled for the day due to operational reasons," it tweeted.
- An FIR was registered Sunday under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after two explosives-laden drones crashed into the IAF station at Jammu airport, officials said, while indicating that the case is likely to be taken over by the terror probe agency NIA.
- The capability of drones to evade radar, wreak devastation at strategic installations and transport weapons to terrorists has been a continuous concern for the country's security establishment, and in a maiden incident, these unmanned vehicles were used to strike an IAF base in Jammu on Sunday, officials said.
With PTI inputs