Militants wanted to strike civilian targets: Army

Militants wanted to strike civilian targets: Army

The Army on Sunday said the militant group that carried out a deadly attack on its Uri camp recently, in which 17 people, including 11 security personnel, were killed, was looking to hit civilian targets to create fear in the poll-bound Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a press conference at Badamibagh Cantonment here, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha, said, “The terror group which carried out the attack on Uri camp was looking to hit civilian targets to create fear ahead of the third phase of polling.

“The road between Baramulla and Uri is densely populated. The aim of the militants must have been to strike civilian targets to cause fear and disrupt the peaceful conditions ahead of the polls. They were trained like Special Forces and were prepared to wage a long battle,” he said.

Stating that the attack was planned in Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Toiba was involved, the GOC said: “The Pakistan link to the attack is unambiguous and clear. The pictures of food, weapons, even antiseptic creams recovered from the slain terrorists are enough evidence to see the Pakistan's involvement.

“The terrorists crossed the Jhelum river in Uri as the water level was low there,” he said.

The attack began at 3 am on Friday when a fidayeen (suicide) squad struck at the camp, killing eight soldiers and three policemen who tried to stop them. All six terrorists were killed hours later after a gun-battle.

The same day, militants carried out attacks at three other places, killing 21 people.
Lt Gen Saha dismissed assertions that the attacks were due to the failure of the counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LoC). “Had that been the case, they could have attacked the civilian targets they were looking for,” he said.

He said the incidents in Nowgam sector, in which six militants and a JCO were killed last week, and the one in Uri were not routine infiltration attempts. “The sequence in which the events unfolded, and if you see the numbers and the training of these people, it is not an ordinary infiltration. It is linked to larger events,” said the GOC, referring to the assembly elections and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Srinagar on Monday.

He said the incidents in November and December indicate that there was a coordinated attempt from across the LoC to disrupt the electoral process in J&K.

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