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Uri attack probe: Terrorists locked soldiers in cook house; little evidence recovered to link them to any jihadist group, says NIA

The attack was initiated when four men entered from the western side of the complex and first shot a sentry.

By: | Updated: September 21, 2016 9:45 AM
uri attack, uri militant attack, militant attack in uri, attack in uri, attack on army, NIA Chief Sharad Kumar reached the terror site on Tuesday and was briefed as to how the terror attack was carried out. However, little evidence has emerged to link the perpetrators to any specific jihadist group in Pakistan, NIA officials said. (Express photo)

As per the initial probe by the National Investigation Agency in the Uri attacks, it is believed that the terrorists spent at least one day in the mountains above the brigade headquarters complex before attacking them. Sources told The Indian Express that the fatalities took place in a cook house and store room which burned down during the attack. The two buildings are reported to have been locked from outside so that nobody can escape during the fire, hinting at the ‘close-watch’ that was kept by the terrorists on the Army men.

The attack was initiated when four men entered from the western side of the complex and first shot a sentry. Following which three of them headed towards the tents where the soldiers were billeted and the two buildings and the remaining one went towards the officer’s mess.

Also read | Uri attack: US lawmakers introduce bill to declare Pakistan State Sponsor of terror

Sources said the NIA had also taken DNA samples and fingerprints of the four terrorists before their bodies were buried Monday. “These will be preserved as evidence, and can be used to determine matches in future if necessary,” sources said.

Investigation sources said their hopes of proving the fact that the terrorists began their journey in Pakistan rests on retrieving data from a damaged Global Positioning System (GSPS) set recovered from the attack site. For which, National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) engineers have been tasked with. The terrorists are believed to have used a set of Garmin eTrex GPS in order to cut across the Haji Par before reaching Uri. While one of the GPS device is being looked into, the other got badly damaged during the fighting.

NIA Chief Sharad Kumar reached the terror site on Tuesday and was briefed as to how the terror attack was carried out. However, little evidence has emerged to link the perpetrators to any specific jihadist group in Pakistan, NIA officials said.

Also read | Uri attack: Army investigates possible traces of ‘insiders’ who might have helped terrorists sneak in

As per sources close to the ongoing investigation, it is believed that the four Kalashnikov rifles used by the terrorists, bore no markings or insignia of any kind. There were also no military markings on barrel-fired grenades destroyed by the Army Monday, or on launchers fitted on the Kalashnikovs.

On Sunday, after the attack when Lt General Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations addressed the media, he had told the reporters that the weapons had Pakistan markings. NIA officials, however, underlined that syringes, painkillers, other medications and packets of ready-to-eat food carried by the terrorists bore the markings of several Pakistani manufacturers, linking the perpetrators to that country.

“All groups infiltrating from Pakistan carry this kind of kit,” an NIA official said, “so it doesn’t tell us anything very specific.”

The ICom-manufactured handset used by the terrorists, intelligence sources said, matched a device recovered from Bahadur Ali, a Pakistani national arrested in July. The device was used to communicate with the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s main control station, code-named Alpha3.

However, an NIA official while refuting the aforementioned fact said the fact that Uri attackers used a similar set was not, in itself, conclusive evidence that the Lashkar carried out the strike. “ICom is a well-known manufacturer of high-trade tactical wireless equipment,” he said, “and its products are widely used, even by law enforcement.”

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