Dilbagh Singh addressing a press conference
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbagh Singh addressing a press conference in Srinagar (Photo: ANI)

RAJOURI — Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh on Friday said that the April 21 attack in Bhata Durian area of Poonch, in which five soldiers were killed, was carried out with active local support and “terrorists had used steel-coated armour-piercing bullets and IEDs to target army vehicle to inflict maximum damage.”

He said an intense search to track the natural hideouts used by militants is being launched and initial investigations suggest that nine to twelve foreign militants may be active in Rajouri-Poonch area, who may have infiltrated recently.

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Talking to reporters after taking stock of the ongoing search operations in Darhal area of Rajouri district, DGP Singh, as per the news agency KNO, said that the Poonch attack was carried out with the active support of locals.

“Such attacks can’t be carried out without local support. The terrorists were provided shelter at one place and then provided transport to carry out the attack at another place. They had done proper recee of the area and despite the rain, they succeeded to target the army vehicle that was plying with almost zero speed due to blind turn,” the DGP said, adding that “the attackers were knowing the spot and speed of the vehicle.”

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The DGP said that the militants used steel-coated armour-piercing bullets and IEDs to blow up the army vehicle in a bid to inflict maximum damage.

“Same bullets were used in the Dhangri, Rajouri attack. The Poonch attack was carried out near a forest area. Initial investigations suggest that the terrorists may have used natural hideouts. We are identifying the natural hideouts that may have been used by the attackers before the attack and an intense search operation is on to nab the attackers,” he said.

Replying to a query, he said that the group of militants involved in the recent attack may be divided into two and their number seems between nine to twelve.

About the local support, he said that a local, Nisar Ahmed, a resident of Gursai village, was already on the suspect list of the police. “He has been an active OGW of terrorists since 1990. He was questioned several times in the past. This time, after corroborating the evidence, he was found involved in providing logistic and other support to terrorists who carried out the Poonch attack,” the DGP said, adding that Nisar’s family is also involved in providing support to militants.

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On whether the militants had got weapons through drones, the DGP said that weapons, grenades and cash were air-dropped by drone and the same was collected by Nisar and his family members. “We are identifying the spot where the drone had dropped the weapons and cash,” he said.

He said so far, 200 people were questioned and 12 suspects have been detained. He said with the arrest of Nisar, the investigation has got a direction and vital leads have been received so far.

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