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 told PTI.
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.
Chandigarh: Security agencies were put on high alert in border areas of Punjab, mainly the Pathankot airbase, on Sunday after two explosions occurred at the Air Force Station in Jammu.
Security was stepped up, particularly in border districts of Pathankot and Gurdaspur, including near Indian Air Force base in Pathankot that saw the terror attack on January 2, 2016, as well as nearby Mamoon Cantonment of the Indian Army, officials told IANS.
India's international border with Pakistan falls in both the districts adjoining Jammu and Kashmir.
Apart from Punjab Police, personnel of the Border Security Force and other security agencies have been put on alert following intelligence inputs.
There were two bomb blasts at the station on Sunday morning which security agencies suspect were carried out by using drones.
Two explosives-laden drones crash into IAF station at Jammu airport, two people injured.
Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after the blasts at IAF station at Jammu airport, officials said, while indicating that the case is likely to be taken over by the terror probe agency NIA.
(With Inputs From IANS)