Srinagar: With the National Investigating Agency (NIA) formally beginning a probe into the attack on an army camp in Nagrota last month, it appeared on Monday that the terrorists who were behind the incident had used a silencer-fitted weapon to kill a sentry before gaining entry into the premises.
News agency PTI quoted sources as saying that this was a tactic adopted by 'fidayeen' (suicide attackers) for the first time in the troubled state.
After gaining entry into the camp from the rear side, which had thick vegetation that provided natural cover of elephant grass, one of the terrorists fired at the sentry using a silencer-fitted weapon, official sources said.
As someone noticed the fall of the sentry, panic gripped the Army camp, which houses an artillery unit having presence of families of soldiers.
Soon firing erupted, they said.
The sources said night illuminators were fired to locate the terrorists who had by then taken entered an adjacent two-storey building where families of soldiers were staying.
The army troops, which anticipated a hostage-like situation, rescued the women and children first with the help of the of para-commandos before launching a final onslaught on the terrorists.
Drones were also pressed into the service which helped the snipers eliminate the terrorists inside the camp, the sources said.
Seven army personnel, including two officers, were killed in the attack by the three terrorists, who were also eliminated in the counter-offensive which lasted nearly four hours.
Seeking to join the dots related to the attack, multiple security agencies have indicated that three attackers had infiltrated into India from across the international border at Hiranagar in Kathua district of Jammu region.
The security agencies had recovered an iCom wireless set near a tree in Hirnagar that matched the frequency of the sets carried by the militants, sources said.
Not ruling out the possibility of local assistance being provided to the terrorists, sources said they had possibly entered into India on the night of November 28-29 and travelled a distance of 78 kms to the army camp using a well connected national highway before mounting the assault in the morning.
Initially it was speculated that the terrorists could have travelled to the army camp from Kashmir, a possibility that was rejected after the vehicular movement was scrutinised from the CCTVs installed at vantage points along the national highway linking the Valley to the rest of the country.
There were some intelligence leads suggesting that a militant sympathiser from Poonch had ferried the terrorists to the army camp, they said.
BSF officials had initially rejected suggestions that terrorists entered through the international border but after the recovery of the wireless set, they started their internal probe. The case is now being probed by National Investigation Agency (NIA).
With PTI inputs