Srinagar, Feb. 21: Jammu and Kashmir police today claimed to have pre-empted a suicide attack on Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport with the arrest of three militants in Poonch district.
“The three militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba were arrested by Poonch district police from outside the state,” director-general of police Gopal Sharma said.
“Their preliminary interrogation revealed that they intended to carry out a criminal act of terror on Indira Gandhi International Airport around February 20.”
Sharma, however, said the local guide of the three Pakistani militants “who was entrusted with the task of facilitating” their movement to Delhi and recce the area “managed to evade arrest”.
The police chief said the arrest of the militants — who have been identified as Assan Ullah, alias Abul Bilal, of Gujranwala town; Mohammad Bashir, alias Abu Maria; and Rashid, alias Abu Kasha (both residents of Karachi) — was a double success.
Not only was the airport saved, “we (also) captured the fidayeen alive”, he said at a news conference in Jammu today. “This has never happened before.”
Sharma said the plan to target the airport had its roots in the suicide strike on Jammu railway station on January 2 and was hatched in Fazalabad, a village in Surankote in Jammu’s Poonch district.
“Lashkar commanders Abu Salama and Assadullah under the supervision of the divisional commander of the Lashkar Abu Hanzullah prepared the three freshly infiltrated terrorists to carry out the fidayeen attack,” the police official said.
Abu Salama, the Jammu and Kashmir police chief added, was “the mastermind of the fidayeen attack on Jammu railway station, in which four security men died while nine others were wounded, and another fidayeen attack in Poonch last year”.
The DGP said police seized three AK-56 rifles, 12 hand grenades, a dozen magazines and 480 rounds from the militants.