Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Air traffic control, not Mi-17 hangar, could have been actual target in Jammu drone attack

New Delhi: The Improvised Explosive Device (IED), which was dropped from what is believed to be a commercially available small drone on the Air Force station in Jammu, had metal pieces in it to cause splinter injuries and could be a mixture of the RDX and some other explosive, ThePrint has learnt.

Sources in the defence and security establishment also said that while initially it was thought that the helicopter hangar at the base was the target, since the IED fell close to it, agencies are also looking at the possibility of the attack being aimed at the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, which is common to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the civil airport.

This thought process is primarily because the IED, which had impact charges — explosives that set off after contact with an object — had metal pieces in it.

Sources also said it is believed that those who operated the drone zeroed in on the target using Google’s satellite imagery. The Jammu and Kashmir Police are also probing possible links to the recovery of another IED in Jammu.

Further, security agencies are working on the assessment that the drone could have actually flown in from Pakistan. They said that the chance of the drone being operated from Jammu is less.

There is, however, no concrete evidence as of now to rule out either possibility.

Sources added that the attack was carried out by someone technologically savvy and not by the regular network of Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of terror groups.

Multiple agencies, including those from the defence and the security establishment, are involved in the investigations besides the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police. 

29/06/21 Snehesh Alex Philip, Ananya Bharadwaj/Print

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