Poonch attack carried out with local support, IED used to blow army vehicle: DGP Singh

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

He said intense search to track the natural hide-outs used by militants is being launched and initial investigations suggest that nine to 12 foreign militants may be active in Rajouri-Poonch area, who may have infiltrated recently.

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

“Such attacks can’t be carried out without local support. The militants 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 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.”

The DGP said that the militants used steel-coated armour-piercing bullets and IEDs to blow the army vehicle in a bid to inflict maximum damage. “ Same bullets were used in the Dhangri, Rajouri attack. The Pooonch attack was carried out near a forest area. Initial investigations suggest that the militants may have used natural hideouts. We are identifying the natural hideouts that may have been used by the attackers before the attack and intense search operation is on to nab them,” 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 the local Nisar Ahmed, a resident of Gursai village, was already in the suspect list of police.

“He has been an active OGW of militants 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 militants who carried out the Poonch attack,” the DGP said, adding that Nisar’s family is also involved in providing support to militants.

On whether militants had got weapons through drones, the DGP said that weapons, grenades and cash was 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. (KNO)

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