National

Terrorists hid outside pathankot airbase, claims IAF

Contradicting intelligence claims that the terrorists hid inside the Pathankot airbase for more than 24 hours before the attacks began, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is learnt to have told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they hid in the elephant grass outside the boundary wall.

The IAF personnel reportedly told Mr. Modi that they were able to reach this conclusion as they had used thermal imaging sensors mounted on an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to scan the airbase, but did not capture the presence of any outsider on the premises on the evening of January 1, when the alert had already been sounded.

The terrorists entered the airbase only around 2.45 a.m. on January 2 by snipping the concertina wire, climbing a tree and then using a nylon rope to slide down the perimeter wall.

Official questions IAF claims

A senior official said the claims of the IAF that the terrorists hid outside the Pathankot airbase’s boundary wall on January 1 evening and entered it only on January 2 morning were not logically sound as the thermal imagers the Air Force reportedly used to scan the premises would have captured body images near the wall as well.

Early on January 3 morning, 24 hours after the first contact with terrorists, an alert NSG commando noticed a door on the ground floor of the airmen’s billet bolted from inside, raising suspicion that more terrorists could be hiding. Several hours before this accidental discovery by the commando, security agencies had presumed that all the terrorists had been neutralised, and in New Delhi the Home Minister and Defence Minister, among others, had declared the operation over.

It was on the next day during a combing operation that the NSG commando noticed the locked door. When the commandos tried to storm the room, terrorists hurled grenades, re-starting the engagement that lasted for another 60 hours. The building had to be ultimately blown up to neutralise the heavily armed terrorists. There were five to six airmen on the first floor of the building, and they were swiftly evacuated.

null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 9:13:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Terrorists-hid-outside-pathankot-airbase-claims-IAF/article13994233.ece

Next Story