JAMMU: In a dastardly attack, terror knocked the doors of Jammu City, when a group of heavily armed suicide attackers belonging to ‘Afzal Guru Brigade’ of Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit attacked 36 Infantry Brigade at Sunjwan Military Station in the east of Jammu City on early Saturday morning at 4:50 am, nearly 15 months after the Jammu region was hit by a similar attack in Nagrota.
Two army personnel attained martyrdom, while nine others including five civilians suffered bullet injuries, among whom two were stated to be critical.
Army in its counter operation have neutralized three terrorists, who were wearing army combat dresses and were carrying AK-56 assault rifles, large amount of ammunition and hand grenades, while others, possibly one, are still holed up.
Most of over 150 houses were cleared as the occupants were shifted to safer places even as the Operation was still on.
While only two deaths have been officially confirmed, the sources informed of a third casualty as well.
Nine others – five of them women and children including the daughter of the slain JCO who had come to visit her father during school holidays – were injured. Two were in a critical condition.
Two terrorists, both in combat gear, were gunned down after the Army evacuated people from 150 family quarters within the sprawling camp of the 36 Brigade of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, an officer said.
Briefing media persons at the main entrance of the camp, Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said the operation would continue till “all the terrorists are apprehended or killed”.
In today’s attack, the terrorists struck before dawn and managed to sneak into the camp from the rear side of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry on its periphery.
“The terrorists entered the family accommodation complex after which quick response teams cordoned off the area and isolated the terrorists, who are holed up in a few houses (inside the camp),” the officer said.
Army officials said a Major, who was injured, was airlifted to an Udhampur hospital where his condition was stated to be critical.
Army helicopters and drones have been pressed to service recce the area, officials said.
They said the Army was conducting the operation and the Jammu and Kashmir Police was not involved. Even senior police officials were not allowed to enter the camp, the officials said.
While there was no action around the main entrance and vehicles were moving along the Jammu-Lakhanpur bypass in front of the camp, Army personnel in bullet-proof vehicles engaged in the operation to rescue people from the family quarters in the rear side of the base.
Contingents of para-military CRPF and police personnel have been posted outside the boundary wall and were keeping curious onlookers at bay to avoid civilian casualties.
Generators and searchlights were brought to the camp, apparently for a night assault.
Though the exact number of terrorists was not known, officials said preliminary estimates had suggested that the group comprised three to four of them.
Inspector General of Police (Jammu) S D Singh Jamwal told reporters here that “around 4:55 am suspicious movement was noticed by the sentry and his bunker was fired upon. The fire was retaliated. The number of militants is not known.”
Soon after the attack, reinforcements of the Army’s special forces and special operations group (SOG) rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area amid a fierce gunfight, security official said.
Schools in a five-kilometre radius around the camp have been closed by the authorities as a precautionary measure.
A high alert has been sounded in Jammu and security beefed up in and around the city.
Intelligence inputs had warned of an attack on an Army or security establishment by Jaish-e-Mohammed in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru who was hanged on February 9, 2013.
HOW THINGS UNFOLDED?
4:50 am: First contact of terrorists with the sentry on duty on the back side of the