Terrorists used abducted SP's phone

Terrorists used abducted SP's phone

Interception of telephone calls made by suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists to Pakistan using a snatched mobile phone appeared to have helped security agencies to identify the terror target as Air Force base in Punjab’s Pathankot.

At least four JeM terrorists aided by the ISI are suspected to be behind the terror strike, security officials said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh did not rule out JeM’s involvement in the attack as he ordered an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the government has credible information about the attack being sponsored by “some elements from across the border”.

Security agencies have intercepted at least four calls made in a span of 70 minutes to Pakistan early Saturday morning to suggest that the JeM carried out the attack at the behest of ISI. While three of the calls were made to the Pak handlers, one of them was made by an attacker to his mother to tell her that they were on a suicide mission.

Sources said it was these telephone calls that helped them identify that their target was the Air Force base.

Official sources said the terrorists were in regular touch with their Pakistani handlers, who used Pakistani mobiles to arrange a taxi for them. Investigators have found that they had used a Toyota Innova vehicle on Friday and it was booked through a call from a Pakistani number. During investigations, sources said, it came to light that the driver was called to a locality near Pathankot. However, they dumped the car after it got damaged. Later, the terrorists hijacked an SUV in which a Superintendent of Punjab Police, his friend and a cook were travelling.

The terrorists took away officer’s mobile phone and used it to call their Pakistani handlers and mother of one of the attackers. Investigators found out that this number was earlier used to call the driver.

The agencies were tracking the snatched phone, which provided them many inputs about the plans.

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