New Delhi: As the counter operation entered its third day on Monday, security forces today nailed one more terrorists who had attacked the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot along with four others, senior National Security Guard (NSG) official said.
Seven security personnel, including one officer of the National Security Guard, were killed in the counter-offensive against the terrorists, as a final combing operation was in progress till evening.
"The operations for this particular Air Base are going on smoothly given the magnitude of this air base. Joint operations launched by security forces are being conducted in an excellent manner by the NSG, Army, Air Force, Police and intelligence agencies in a combined and synergised manner. We have eliminated four terrorists and the operation to eliminate two more terrorists possibly is in final stage," Major General Dushyant Singh, NSG addressed the media in a joint presser.
He added that due to the area of the Air Base which is very large and the personal, strategic assets located there, the combing operations are going on simultaneously by the Army and other forces to eliminate the terrorists.
"The entire operation will continue till all the personal assets and structures are physically combed, so it is likely that it will take a long time," Singh said.
He assured that all the personnel strategic assets are secure and their safety has been ensured and that all the families living in the base are safe.
The Army representative at the presser stated that the terrorists had entered the Base 'well prepared and heavily armed' with the aim of targeting the IAF assets which include aircrafts and helicopters located in the vital Air base.
"All these assets have been secured and are safe. There has been no damage to any one of them," the Army official said.
He added that the Army team which was located in close proximity of the base was on 'general alert since 1st January' on the basis of intelligence inputs and had mobilised six columns initially. Two more columns were added subsequently.
"The terrorists opened fire again close to midday and are holed up in a double storey building which were the living quarters of Air Force personnel. Currently, operations are in progress to clear the building. We have ensured that there has been no collateral damage and civilian injuries," the Army official said.
He assured that the situation was under the complete control of the NSG, Army and the Air Force.
Meanwhile, firing and explosions were heard from the base where the counter operation is underway.
The NSG official further said, “ Operations will be conducted till we can fully render the Air Base safe.”
Terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan, infiltrated into the air base in Pathankot early on Saturday which led to a fierce gunfight with security forces. Four terrorists were killed on Saturday in a 15-hour gunfight in which the NSG, Indian Army and IAF commandos were involved, assisted by IAF attack helicopters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier today, chaired a high-level meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in the wake of the terror attack at the Indian Air Force base near Pathankot in Punjab.
The terror attack came almost a week after Modi flew into Lahore, on his way back from Afghanistan, for a surprise meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Both leaders had vowed to pursue the derailed bilateral peace process.
Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are expected to meet on January 15 to draw up a roadmap for bilateral engagement.
The Modi government has faced sharp criticism from Congress and some other parties over its policy on Pakistan. The opposition parties have said the Modi government`s policy on Pakistan "lacks clarity and consistency".