Write about something that happened over the weekend as though it’s the top story on your local paper.
In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists, suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit, struck at an Air Force base in Pathankot in Punjab, leading to a fierce gunbattle in which three security personnel were killed along with four attackers.
The intrusion by a yet undetermined number of terrorists into the Air Force base at Pathankot began around 3 am on Saturday, a senior military official said.
The base is now being combed for any remaining intruders. ‘We are in the process of searching and sanitising the base by identifying all our personnel present at the base,’ the official said.
The intrusion was detected almost as it happened, the official said, and the first terrorist was killed as he was climbing over the 10-meter high wall that also has razor wire on it.
“But we don’t know if they all entered over the wall or through the gate. They could have had multiple entry points. We are in the process of investigating that,” the official said.
The intruders who managed to enter were engaged by security forces in the area between the main gate and the entrance to the technical area at the border air base.
This portion of the air base comprises some administrative office buildings, canteens, housing, the officers’ mess, airmen’s mess.
‘We have bits and pieces of how they gained entry, we are putting it together and we will have a clearer picture soon,’ the official said.
How it unfolded:
PATHANKOT: The security agencies had intercepted a number of phone calls late on Friday night, which set alarm bells ringing. It appeared that a group of terrorists were planning to launch an attack at Punjab’s Pathankot.
Of the four calls made, three were to handlers in Pakistan, in which the terrorists reported the assault made on a senior police officer in Punjab. In the fourth, an attacker was heard calling his mother, sources said.
On Thursday, the men, dressed in army fatigues, had hijacked the official vehicle of the police officer in Pathankot.
They had assaulted the officer, pushed him off the car and took away his cellphone. Later, they used his cell phone to contact their handlers in Punjab, sources said.
The handlers were heard asking the men why they “let off” the Superintendent of Police.
Security personnel stand guard next to a barricade outside the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot in Punjab. (Reuters Photo)
The intercepts triggered a whirlwind of activity – a warning was issued and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval held a meeting with security officials.
Following orders from the Prime Minister’s Office, teams from the National Security Guard, Special Forces of the Indian Army and additional soldiers were moved to various installations at Pathankot.
But notwithstanding the protective measures, the terrorists struck at 3.30 am. The gunbattle, which carried on well past mid-day claimed the lives of two Air Force personnel and one Garuda commando.
Given the advanced information, the terrorists were contained within the periphery of the air base. The army’s Casspir armoured personnel carriers were used to close in on the administrative block of the air base, where the terrorists were holed up.
Four terrorists have been killed in the operation.
The men, sources said, had infiltrated just hours before, sources have told NDTV. They had, in all likelihood, crossed into India from the unfenced section of the international border and proceeded towards Punjab, the sources said.