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NIA establishes how ultras entered airbase, but still not sure of number

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Bodies of only four attackers have been found till now

The only thing the National Investigation Agency has conclusively established after taking over the probe into the Pathankot terror attack is the point of entry of the terrorists who stormed the Air Force Base last week.

Based on a recreation of the scene of crime and technological inputs, the NIA said the terrorists had entered from the rear of the airbase after snapping the barbed wire fence. Under the cover of a tree, they scaled the 11-foot-high perimeter wall and entered the premises by bending a branch. “There is no other evidence to suggest till now that the terrorists could have used any other point of entry. We haven’t found a breach anywhere else; this area has a lot of elephant grass growth,” said a top NIA official.

The official said the agency was still not sure of the number of terrorists who had attacked the base as the bodies of only four had been found. The armed forces had blown up a building where two terrorists were suspected to be hiding.

“Till we get the forensic report, how can we say whether there were five or six terrorists?” the official asked.

PMO asks NIA to share probe details

Under fire from the Opposition and media for mishandling the Pathankot operation, an upset Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to disseminate information regarding the NIA’s investigations .

“The Prime Minister was upset with the way speculative stories are doing the rounds in the media, so the MHA has been tasked with flow of information,” said a senior government official. Following this, the NIA issued a press statement giving an update of the investigations.

The statement said the post mortem examination of the bodies of the terrorists were conducted at the Pathankot Civil hospital and body tissues of the terrorists have been preserved for DNA Sampling.

“During investigations DNA samples have been collected from the vehicles used by the terrorists and the same are being sent for forensic examination. Footprints, suspected to be of the terrorists, have been lifted by forensic experts from Bamihal village in the border area and from within the Airforce station and sent to Central Forensic Science Lab (CFSL),” the statement said.

An official said the four terrorists had taken position in a trench behind the Defence Security Corps (DSC) mess, dug during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 11:05:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/NIA-establishes-how-ultras-entered-airbase-but-still-not-sure-of-number/article13990279.ece

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