The four terrorists who stormed an army base in Uri sector on Sunday killing 18 soldiers belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and managed to sneak in by cutting the perimeter fencing of the highly-guarded army installation at two places, investigations have shown.
In an indication that the terrorists were well-versed of the layout of the army base close to the Line of Control(LoC), the assailants locked the cooking room and store from outside to prevent the soldiers from leaving before setting them afire, sources privy to the probe said today.
The investigators are not ruling out “insider help” to the terrorists in view of the precise nature of the actions undertaken by the intruders once inside the army base, the sources said, adding the attackers first cut the perimeter fencing at two places.
After locking the cooking room and store, two of the terrorists started moving towards the officers quarters within the base but they were gunned down before they could inflict any further damage, they said.
The two Global Positioning System (GPS) sets recovered from the slain militants were damaged during the attack and have been handed over to the NIA, which is probing the case.
The four intruders, who had crossed in from Pakistan- occupied Kashmir(Pok) a day earlier, were affiliated to LeT as the terrorist module bore striking resemblance to the group from the same Pakistan-based terror outfit eliminated in Poonch on September 11, the sources said.
Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh had told reporters hours after the attack that as per initial reports the slain terrorists belonged to Jaish-e- Mohammad(JeM), also a Pakistan-based terror outfit.
“All four killed were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-E-Mohammed tanzeem,” Lt Gen Singh had said.
The terrorists both at Uri and Poonch were carrying small plastic bottles containing a concoction of petroleum jelly and gelatin which was used to set the soldiers’ tents on fire, the sources said.
Various intelligence agencies probing the bloodiest attack on army in Kashmir in 27 years believe that the attack could be handiwork of LeT, which has been induging in shallow infiltration — a strategy to target the first available security installation by the infiltrators after crossing the LoC.
The NIA yesterday registered a case to probe the terror attack at the Army installation in Uri.
The NIA took over the investigation from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had registered a case on Sunday, and began probe by collecting evidence available with the Army formation at Uri.
The NIA team led by Inspector General G P Singh has been camping in Uri since its arrival here yesterday. The team will collect the DNA samples of the four unidentified terrorists and their pictures would be shown to militants lodged in various jails of the state as well as other parts of the country.
The NIA team would prepare a dossier and may make a formal request to Pakistan once the identity of the four was ascertained.
Army has also instituted an inquiry into the attack with preliminary investigation suggesting the terrorists had entered the area at least a day before mounting the brazen assault.
The inquiry besides ascertaining lapses, if any, would also suggest measures to prevent such attacks in the future as Pakistani-based groups were indulging more in “shallow infiltration”, which means that terrorists strike the first available installation after crossing the Line of Control.