Three JeM terrorists, killed in a gunfight near a toll plaza here, had left an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) under a hoarding on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which another member of the module was to use to target security forces, police said on Saturday. The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists also carried ‘armoured piercing steel core ammunition’ which can go through Level 3 protection bulletproof vehicles that police and other security forces use, they said.
The ammunition was in large quantity and could have posed a grave threat, top police officials said.
The terrorists were killed in a fierce gunbattle with police at Bann Toll Plazaa near Nagrota, about 28 km from Jammu city, officials said.
The operation was called off after eliminating all the three terrorists but vigilance will still be carried out in the area, they added.
The truck-borne terrorists carried with them a powerful ready-to-use IED from across the border to carry out attack against the security forces on the highway, they said.
They had “dumped it at a convenient location” near a hoarding on the highway to be used by a third person of their module, who is currently in Jammu, they said.
Truck driver Sameer Dar, conductor Asif Malik and another over ground worker (OGW) were arrested.
Based on the disclosure during questioning of the three OWGs, a police team and bomb disposal squad swung into action and defused the IED fitted with RDX, grenades and other material and placed under a hoarding at Nagrota on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the officials said.
Efforts are on track down the person of the JeM module in Jammu who was to plant IED to target security forces, they said.
The JeM terrorists also carried with them a deadly US-made sniper rifle, six rifles, five pistols, 11 hand grenades, explosives and high-end satellite communication phones and GPS. DGP said that JeM terrorists only carried such weapons, that too by its top commanders.
They said M4 sniper rifle was used by militants in Kashmir in 2018 in five incidents fatally targeting police personnel.
The officials said that had the M4 carbine again fallen into the hands of militants, it could have proved disastrous for security personnel.
Three OGWs of the militants including their handler Sameer Dar, Sartaj Ahmed Mantu and Asif Malik, all residents of Kakpora, Pulwama, were arrested by police and have been shifted to safer location for sustained questioning as they were part of JeM plot to cause wide spread disturbances in the Valley, the officials said.
Sameer was cousin of February 14 Pulwama attack mastermind Adil Dar. Sameer’s brother, Manzoor Malik, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant, was killed in South Kashmir in 2016.
Police and security forces detained five more truck operators from Rhembal and Udhampur last night and two of them had called Sameer Dar on telephone but involvement of all of them was being investigated, the officials said.
Police said the terrorist group is suspected to have infiltrated from along the International Border (IB) in Dayalachak area in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district and were picked by truckers around 2 am on Friday to carry out an attack.
The group was on its way to Srinagar when the police team intercepted it at the plaza around 5 am on Friday, they said.
One of the terrorists was killed in the ensuing gunfight while the rest managed to escape to the adjacent forest area, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said, adding a policeman was injured and has been hospitalised.
The terrorists also fired grenades, the officials said.
Two more terrorists were killed in the gunbattle, taking the toll to three, they said.