Pak ter­ror­ists hit peace talks

DAR­ING STRIKE 5 Jaish ter­ror­ists storm Pathankot air base, kill 3 air­men; gunned down af­ter 10-hour stand­off

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Vi­nay Dhin­gra, Harki­rat Singh and Aseem Bassi let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

PATHANKOT: In­dian se­cu­rity forces killed five ter­ror­ists who launched a pre-dawn at­tack Satur­day on a strate­gic Air Force base in Pun­jab’s Pathankot dis­trict, set­ting off a fierce 10-hour gun­fight that also left three se­cu­rity per­son­nel dead and about a dozen oth­ers in­jured.

The at­tack on the air base, which is home to a large fleet of MiG- 21 and MiG- 25 fighter planes, was seen as an at­tempt to undo re­cent pro g ress in In­dia’ s re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan. It came barely a week af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi made an unan­nounced visit to La­hore to meet with his Pak­istani coun­ter­part, Nawaz Sharif, in a sign of pos­si­ble thaw­ing of re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

The slain se­cu­rity per­son­nel in­cluded two from the De­fence Se­cu­rity Corps in­clud­ing Com­mon­wealth gold medal­list shooter Fateh Singh be­sides an air­man whose iden­tity was not given.

“En­e­mies of hu­man­ity who can’t see In­dia progress, such el­e­ments at­tacked in Pathankot but our se­cu­rity forces did not let them suc­ceed,” Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said in My­suru.

Gun­shots rocked the fa­cil­ity around 3: 30am Satur­day as a group of at least five men in army- style cloth­ing -- be­lieved to be op­er­a­tives of Pak­istan­based terror group Jaish- eMo­hammed -- launched the dar­ing op­er­a­tion less than 24 hours af­ter an alert was sounded in the state over the as­sault of a top cop of Gur­daspur, su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice Sal­winder Singh, by sus­pected Pak­istani ter­ror­ists.

Elite NSG Com­man­does, army per­son­nel and a SWAT team of Pun­jab Po­lice were rushed to the area fol­low­ing the as­sault on Singh and in­ter­cep­tions of mo­bile phone calls made by the ter­ror­ists to their Pak­istan- based han­dlers.

“From the mo­ment ter­ror­ists’ pres­ence was con­firmed on Fri­day, Pun­jab po­lice and cen­tral se­cu­rity agen­cies worked in tan­dem and rapidly mo­bilised all re­sources in real time. That’s what ac­counted for the suc­cess of the op­er­a­tion,” said Suresh Arora, Pun­jab di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice.

Sources said 168 NSG com­man­dos led by ma­jor gen­eral Dushyant Singh were flown in from Delhi on Fri­day night.

CON­TIN­UED ON P7

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