The terror attack on an Air Force base at Pathankot has entered the third day, the duration of the strike bringing back memories of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, which lasted for nearly 72 hours. An NSG official said during a media briefing on Monday evening that five terrorists were killed by security forces. While combing operations are still on, all personnel and their families are safe, the official added.
While four terrorists were killed on Saturday, two more attackers were still said to be in hiding on the third day of the attack on Monday.
Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh had tweeted that the armed forces had successfully neutralised 'all the five terrorists' involved in the attack, leading to reports that the operation had ended. On Monday, the security forces appeared to be particularly careful during their interaction with the media, and did not take any questions after they briefed journalists in Pathankot.
"The operation will continue till all the personnel, assets and structure are physically combed. So it is likely to take a long time," National Security Guards (NSG) Inspector General Major General Dushant Singh had said on Monday.
NSG and army commandos conducted a thorough mopping of the entire area where the terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan and trained by the outlawed Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) outfit, had been cornered, police said.
While the United Jihad Council has claimed responsibility for the terror strike, the government has rubbished the claim, claiming that it was a tactic to divert attention, CNN-IBN said.
On Monday, a powerful explosion shook a double-storeyed building at the Air Base where two terrorists were still holed up as operations intensified to flush them out.
However, all assets, structures and families residing in the IAF base were secure and there was no collateral damage, an Air Force official said.
In the afternoon hours, CNN-IBN reported that one terrorist was blown to pieces after the hideout was blasted, and that the body of another terrorist was being pulled out of the rubble.
Meanwhile, the body of Garud commando Gursewak Singh, one of the seven defence personnel killed in the attack, reached his native Garnala village near Ambala draped in the tricolour.
Haryana Ministers Anil Vij and Abhimanyu were present to pay tributes along with senior officers from the Air Force, besides personnel from the army, police and civil administration.
The body of Lt Colonel E K Niranjan, a bomb expert with the National Security Guard who was killed while defusing a grenade at the scene of the terror attack at Pathankot IAF base, was taken to Bengaluru from where it was to be taken to his hometown Palakkad in Kerala.
In Gurdaspur, Punjab, scores of mourners gathered at the house of Subedar Fateh Singh, 51, a shooter who had won Commonwealth medals.
With inputs from agencies