Seven soldiers, including two officers, were killed in a huge terror attack on Tuesday at an army base near Jammu in the town of Nagrota, just 20 kilometres from the border with Pakistan. A group of heavily-armed suicide attackers in police uniforms entered the army base in Nagrota before daybreak with guns and grenades and forced their way in. They entered buildings where there were army officers’ families, which led to a hostage-like crisis, an army statement said. The attack is reminiscent of January’s deadly strike on an air force base in Pathankot, and comes just two months after 19 soldiers were killed by Pakistani terrorists at an army camp in Uri.
Here are the top 10 developments: An officer and three soldiers were killed while fighting the terrorists when they barged into the base around 5.30 am and fired indiscriminately. The terrorists entered two buildings occupied by officers and their families. After several hours, a dozen soldiers, two women and two children were rescued, but in the operation, a second officer and two more soldiers were killed.
The Nagrota base is one of four command centres in Jammu and Kashmir and home to over 1,000 officers. It is the headquarters of the army’s 16 Corps, a massive military formation that defends the borders and fights terrorists in the greater Jammu region.
The army will investigate later how the attackers breached the highly fortified base, but officers said the terrorists were from the fidayeen or suicide squad and were “determined to get in”. All schools were shut down in the vicinity and traffic has been stopped on the highway, which is very close to the army base. Security has also been tightened at the Vaishnodevi shrine some 30 km away.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said: “Statistics have shown the attack is on military installations. Civilians are not being targeted.”
Separately and south of Jammu, the Border Security Force intercepted a group of terrorists and killed three of them while they were attempting to cross over the International Border from Pakistan into India at the Samba sector.
Today’s attacks in Jammu coincided with a new Pakistan army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, taking charge from General Raheel Sharif, who said in a parting shot to India: “Don’t mistake our patience for weakness.”Amid a sharp escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan, there has been a spurt in attacks and infiltration attempts by terrorists from across the border over the past few weeks. In September, 19 soldiers were killed when terrorists from Pakistan attacked an army base in Uri in the deadliest attack on the military in the region in a decade.
Days later, the army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control targeting staging areas in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for terrorists planning to attack Indian cities.