Jammu: Two explosives-laden drones crashed into the IAF station at Jammu airport in the early hours of Sunday, perhaps the first time that suspected Pakistan-based terrorists have used unmanned aerial vehicles in an attack, officials said.
Two Indian Air Force personnel were injured in the explosions that took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other. The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-storey building at the high security technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari area of the city. The second one was on the ground, the officials said.
The attack at the IAF station in Jammu is a terror attack, Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbag Singh said.
He said the police and other agencies were working together with IAF officials to unravel the plan behind the attack. A team from anti-terror probe agency National Investigation Agency (NIA) was also at the spot.
It was not immediately clear from where the drones had taken off and investigations were on to ascertain their flight path, officials said.
The aerial distance from the Jammu airport to the international border is 14 km.
While officials were investigating the drone attack, another major strike was averted when a person, probably owing allegiance to the banned Lashker-e-Taiba, was arrested along with an improvised explosive device weighing around six kg, the director general of police said.
The person was tasked with triggering the IED in a crowded place.
“The suspect has been detained and is being interrogated. More suspects are likely to be picked up in this foiled IED blast attempt,” Singh said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s office said he spoke to Vice Air Chief, Air Marshal H S Arora, over the airport incident.
In a Twitter post, the IAF said two “low-intensity explosions” were reported early Sunday morning in the technical area of Jammu air force station.
“One caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in an open area There was no damage to any equipment. Investigation is in progress along with civil agencies,” it said.
Earlier in the morning, a defence spokesperson said, “There were reports of an explosion inside Air Force Station Jammu. There is no injury to any personnel or any damage to any equipment. Investigation is on and further details are awaited”.
Jammu airport is a civil airport with the runway and the ATC (air traffic control) under the IAF.
Jammu Airport director Pravat Ranjan Beuria told PTI that there was no disruption in flight operations due to the explosions. “Flights to and from Jammu airport are operating as per schedule,” he said.