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Suspicious movement in Gurdaspur, Army conducts search operations

A day after the operations to eliminate terrorists at Pathankot Indian Air Force (IAF) base concluded, an alert was sounded on Wednesday in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The police launched a search operation in a village after locals reported sighting of two men in army uniform moving in suspicious manner.

Villagers claimed to have seen two men in army fatigues in Tibri, in the cantonment area, said the police.

Police immediately reported the matter to Army and a joint search operation was launched, said SSP Gurpreet Singh. There were also reports that five terrorists had sneaked into the border area of Gurdaspur and Pathankot, following which army formations have been put on alert, officials said. Gurdaspur was targeted by Pakistani terrorists in July last year when they struck at a police station there. Later on Wednesday  a scare was created after a man with a bag was spotted moving in a suspicious manner outside the Pathankot Air base, which was the target of a terror attack till Tuesday.

The bearded man, wearing a ‘khaki’ coloured trousers, was immediately detained by the security personnel, including those of the IAF, after he apparently did not heed to the directive to open his bag.

Aiming their guns at him, the security personnel asked him to keep the bag away and lie on the ground.

The man was probed by the security personnel, including by Punjab Policemen, about his antecedents and his movement.

Meanwhile combing operations were underway on Wednesday to sanitise the Pathankot air base that was under siege for four days after terrorists struck the forward installation even as the focus shifted to the probe in the terror strike.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Sharad Kumar reached Pathankot for an on-the-spot assessment.

Security officials said that the combing operations may continue for a day or two at the forward base where seven security personnel and six terrorists were killed. Sources in the IAF said that every inch of the Air Force Station (AFS) was being thoroughly scanned. The focus on Wednesday was on the investigation by the NIA into the entire terrorist attack, including any lapses by the police and security agencies.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said on Tuesday that there “is no suspected terrorist inside right now. (Still) I will not give a negative report till the combing operations are over. The combing operations may be over by tomorrow.” He had said that the combing operation was for safety purpose as there are live, unexploded bombs besides rest of the ammunition. “Probably, they have brought high quality explosives,” Parrikar had said. 

He had stated that the terrorists were carrying AK47s, modified Under Grenade Barrel Launcher, pistols, Swiss and commando knives, 40-50 kg of bullets besides three to four dozens of magazine and mortars.
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