Security forces killed one more gunman on Sunday (January 3) at an air base in Pathankot attacked by militants a day earlier, leaving one assailant still suspected at large in the sprawling facility near the border with Pakistan.
Gunfire and blasts were heard as security forces hunted the lone remaining attacker in the Indian Air Force base, a day after the raid in which five attackers and six Indian military personnel have now been killed.
An army official confirmed the death of the militant as the operation to secure the base – used by MiG-21 fighter jets and attack helicopters – stretched into a second day on Sunday. He did not elaborate on the circumstances of his death.
“We are conducting search operations. We are doing our duty. Senior officers will brief you about details,” police inspector Sukhjinder Singh told reporters.
Indian troops combed the area around the base and barricaded a road leading to the compound.
Helicopters also hovered over the air base while military trucks were seen entering and exiting the walled compound, including a demining vehicle. Dozens of forces carried out security checks and frisked passers-by.
“Their plan was dangerous. We are proud of our air force, Punjab police and army, who shot them dead. We are sure that our security personnel will gun them down whenever our enemies try to attack the country,” said Virendra Maan, a local resident.
The attack by gunmen disguised as soldiers came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in an effort to revive talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Officials said the attack bore the hallmarks of previous suspected assaults by Pakistan-based militant groups, underscoring the fragility of recent efforts to revive bilateral talks between the often uneasy neighbours.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
One resident said the two countries needed to work together to tackle such militants.
“Both countries should launch a campaign against such people. They should join hands to face them,” said Ranjit Singh.
Pakistan has condemned the attack and said it wanted to continue to build on the goodwill created by the impromptu meeting between Modi and Sharif last month.
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