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Search operation continues at Pathankot air base after attack

At least four terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan, were killed in a gunfight that lasted over 15 hours after they breached a high-security perimeter and entered the IAF base in northern Punjab early on Saturday to carry out a Fidayeen attack.

A route often used by drug smugglers was apparently followed by terrorists to infiltrate into the border state of Punjab and unleash the deadly attack on an IAF base in Pathankot.

“We have also lost security personnel in the Pathankot attack”.

The attack Saturday at the Pathankot air force base in Punjab came just a week after the first visit to Pakistan in 12 years by an Indian prime minister.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters that India wants peace with Pakistan, but “if there is any kind of terror attack on India, we will give it a fitting reply”.

In a TV briefing from Pathankot, Air Commodore J.S. Dhamoon said the attackers had burst into a guards’ mess at the air base, where they were preparing breakfast on Saturday morning. An IAF commando and two Defence Service Corps (DSC) personnel, who man military establishments, were killed in the encounter. News reports said the commando was killed while defusing explosives.

Ranjith was honeytrapped by a cyber entity by the name Damini McNaught, who pretended to be the executive of a UK-based media firm, and claimed that she required Air Force-related information for an article in their news magazine from Ranjith in exchange for pecuniary benefits. The Pakistan border is about 30 kms from here.

The responses to Saturday’s attack from both countries have been muted so far, with neither New Delhi nor Islamabad giving any indication that the planned talks are under any threat. Police said they were investigating whether the gunmen came from the Indian portion of Kashmir, where rebels routinely stage attacks, or from Pakistan.

“Not only in India and Pakistan, good atmosphere has been created across the globe by Modi’s visit”.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the security forces for the successful Pathankot operation. Rebels in India’s portion of Kashmir have been fighting since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan.

Indian leaders had already praised the armed forces for their heroism in Saturday’s shootout, with Modi saying they did not let the “enemies of humanity” who attacked the base succeed.

In July 2015 seven people were killed in a similar attack when gunmen stormed a police station in nearby Gurdaspur district.

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