Cops begin house-to-house verification drive near Jammu airport days after drone strike

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Jammu, Jun 30 (PTI) Police began a house-to-house verification drive in residential colonies near the Jammu airport, three days after an Indian Air Force (IAF) station there was targeted in a first-of-its-kind terror attack using drones, officials said on Wednesday.

In the drive that began from Peer Baba in the Chatta area, police personnel collected details of residents, including their contact numbers.

The IAF also deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fitted with camera that hovered over its station and nearby residential areas for several hours in the afternoon, the officials said.

They said additional floodlights have been installed at the IAF base and more lights on high masts are being set up.

A team of the elite counter-terrorism unit National Security Guard (NSG) visited the IAF base, but it was immediately known what actions it took.

In what was the first instance of Pakistan-based terrorists deploying drones to strike vital installations, two bombs were dropped at the IAF station in the early hours of Sunday, causing minor injuries to two airmen.

The explosions took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other. The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-storey building at the technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari on the outskirts of Jammu. The second one was on the ground.

The aerial distance from the Jammu airport to the international border is 14 km.

There were also reports of sighting of unidentified drones over vital military installations during the previous three nights.

The Army on Monday had confirmed the presence of drones over its brigade headquarters at the Ratnuchak-Kaluchak station and said a major threat was thwarted by the alertness and proactive approach of the troops who engaged the unmanned vehicles after being spotted twice at 11.45 pm and 2.40 am on Sunday night.

Both the drones disappeared after firing by the troops but no debris was found during the subsequent search operation in and around the camp.

Reports also claimed sighting of drones over Ratnuchak and Kaluchak around 1.08 am and 3.09 am on Tuesday and again over the Kunjwani garrison around 4.19 am.

Suspected drones were also spotted over army installations at Miran Sahib at around 9.32 pm on Tuesday and Kaluchak and Kunjwani at 4.40 am and 4.52 am on Wednesday, respectively, the officials said, adding that there was no reaction from the Army troops on the ground as the drones were flying at a high altitude.

An Army officer, when contacted, neither confirmed nor denied the sighting of drones over the past few days.

The Kaluchak Army station was attacked by terrorists in 2002, in which 31 people including 10 children were killed. Six soldiers and a civilian lost their lives in another terrorist attack at the Sunjwan military station in February 2018. PTI TAS SKL SMN SMN

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