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India says search for attackers at air base still not over

Security forces on Sunday nailed two more terrorists who had attacked the Indian Air Force base. We are proud of our air force, Punjab police and army, who shot them dead.

The Army, NSG and the IAF called a joint briefing to inform that situation was fully under control and the operation to eliminate the remaining terrorists was progressing well.

He said the terrorists were holed up in a building in the complex.

There is “high probability” that at least two terrorists have entered the Indian Air Force base before Punjab Police SP Salwinder Singh, his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and Singh’s cook was kidnapped along with an SUV on December 31, official sources said.

Media reports had so far claimed that six terrorists attacked the base early on Saturday morning, out of which four died earlier in the gunbattle.

Seven security personnel have been martyred.

But renewed gunfire and explosions on Sunday led officials to confirm the security operation was ongoing at the complex, which is spread over several miles.

Mehrishi said that troops were not certain of the presence of additional gunmen until they were discovered Sunday afternoon, and that the two men were cornered in a wooded area of the base by the evening.

Al Jazeera’s Faiz Jamil, reporting from New Delhi, said that “some of the gunmen may have been hiding in some of the bunkers or the forested areas surrounding the large military base” before launching the attack.

At around 6:30 pm on Monday incidents of fresh firing have been reported at the base. This was due to the fact that at least a dozen Islamist militant groups were active in the region surrounding the consulate and it was not immediately clear whether the Indian consulate was indeed the target. “Those who are responsible for the problem should not question the one trying to solve it”, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said. It is also very close to India’s border with Pakistan.

Singh told reporters in Pathankot that it will take a “long time” to declare the base completely secure because of its size and geography.

The violence follows Mr Modi’s surprise Christmas Day visit to Pakistan, where he met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif – a trip that marked a significant thaw in the mostly tense relations between the nuclear-armed neighbuors. “By accusing Pakistan for every attack, India neither succeeded in past to malign the Kashmir Freedom Struggle nor will it get anything in future through malicious propaganda”, Spokesperson said. Helicopters, NSG commandos and SWAT teams were engaged to kill the militants, police said.

The foreign secretary-level talks were announced by foreign minister Swaraj last month as part of a nascent engagement process between India and Pakistan after a gap of two years.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s China visit was put off in wake of the attack on the Pathankot air base.

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