Gunmen storm Indian Air Force Pathankote Base

PATHANKOT: At least five gunmen who staged a deadly attack on an Air Force Base here in Punjab’s Pathankot district, triggering an encounter. 

Officials said that three IAF personnel were killed in a gun battle lasting several hours.

Operations at the base continued with some reports saying gunmen were holed up in the base.

The entire area was cordoned off, police said, adding that the attackers, who had abducted an SP yesterday, are linked with attack and had also made calls to Pakistan. 

“The infiltrators were immediately engaged and contained within a limited area, thus preventing them from entering the Technical zone where high value assets are parked,” the IAF said in a statement. “Through timely and prompt action by all agencies, the likely plan of the terrorists to destroy valuable assets of the Air Force has been foiled,” the statement read.

Though the encounter is now over, combing operations are still on.

The incident came days after the Indian and Pakistani leaders, Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met in Lahore to launch a surprise peace initiative.

The whole of India’s Punjab state has been placed on alert.

The base is on the main highway leading to Indian-administered Kashmir.

In August, seven people were killed in a similar attack when gunmen stormed a police station in nearby Gurdaspur district.

The three attackers in Gurdaspur were killed after a 12-hour standoff with police.

Pathankot air force base is about 430km (270 miles) north of the Indian capital, Delhi and is on the road linking Indian-administered Kashmir with the rest of the country.

Indian-administered Kashmir has seen a long-running insurgency against rule from Delhi, and Kashmir has been a flashpoint in relations between Pakistan and India for nearly 70 years since independence.

Pak condemns attack, says committed to end terrorism

Mean while, Saturday condemned the terror strike at an Air Force base in Pathankot by heavily- armed Pakistani terrorists and asserted that building on the goodwill created during the recent high level contacts, it remained committed to partner India in tackling terrorism.

Read | Pathankot LIVE: Focus on resolving situation, premature to say anything, says MEA

“Pakistan condemns the terrorist incident in Pathankot, India, in which many precious lives have been lost. We extend heartfelt condolences to the government and people of India and the bereaved families and wish the wounded speedy and full recovery,” a Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.

The attack by terrorists, suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, took place at around 3.30 AM and three security personnel, including a Garud commando of the IAF, were killed in it. Four terrorists were also killed by the security forces.

“Building on the goodwill created during the recent high level contacts between the two countries, Pakistan remains committed to partner with India as well as other countries in the region to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism afflicting our region,” the Foreign Office statement said.

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