Gunshots, blast heard again inside Pathankot air base

Pathankot (Punjab): A fresh exchange of fire between two suspected terrorists and security men broke out at the air force base here today, hours after a grenade blast claimed the life of an NSG commando who was trying to defuse a grenade as part of a night-long combing operation at the scene of yesterday's terror attack.

Fresh firing began at the Air Force base here where two more militants are suspected to be holed up. "A fresh contact has been established and there was brief firing," a senior Army official said.

Indian Army personnel stand alert near the Air Force Base in Pathankot on January 2 during the attack on the base by suspected militants. Pic/AFP
Indian Army personnel stand alert near the Air Force Base in Pathankot on January 2 during the attack on the base by suspected militants. Pic/AFP

There was heavy but brief exchange of fire at the area of operation where additional reinforcements rushed as five companies, comprising nearly 500 personnel, were deployed by the army. The firing was still continuing, police officials said.

Lt Col Niranjan, a member of the NSG's Bomb Disposal Squad and a Kerala resident, was killed while he was trying to retrieve a live grenade from the body of a dead terrorist at the scene of the terror attack as part of the combing operations that continued through the night. Four other security men were also injured in the blast.

While a Garud commando and three members of the Defence Security Corps (DSC) were killed in the gunbattle yesterday, three DSC men succumbed to injuries in the hospital here during the night. Four Pakistan-based terrorists had also been killed during yeserday's gunbattle at the airbase, located barely 35 kms from the Indo-Pak border.

Among those battling for their lives in the hospital are 8 DSC personnel and a Garud commando.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the latest situation at the Pathankot air base. Both were present at a HAL function in Tumakuru in Karnataka.

The fresh exchange of fire today and the grenade blast occured as the joint combing operation by the armed forces, police and security personnel was still underway and the NIA had taken over the probe into the terror incident.

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