Jammu IAF base hit in 1st drone strike on Indian military facility

JAMMU/SRINAGAR: In the first reported drone strike on an Indian military facility, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) dropped by suspected quadcopter drones triggered two low-intensity blasts within five minutes of each other at the IAF station in Jammu airport early on Sunday, injuring two personnel on duty in the technical area.

Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh termed the twin explosions, one of which pierced a hole in the roof of a building, a “terror attack” even as teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Bomb Data Centre arrived at the airbase to probe the blasts. “Drones with payload were used in both the blasts at Jammu airfield. Police have registered an FIR at Satwari police station,” he said, hours before the NIA formally took over the probe.

The injured personnel were identified as warrant officer Arvind Singh and airman S K Singh. Neither of them needed hospitalisation, officials said.

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The IAF tweeted from its official handle that one of the explosions caused “minor damage” to the roof of a building while another IED exploded in an open area. “There was no damage to any equipment,” it said.

Sources said the twin explosions at 1.27 am and 1.32 am may have been targeted at the aircraft parked in the dispersal area of the station, which houses Mi-17 V5 helicopters and drones.

Another theory is that this may have been just a trial run to test the ability of a drone with payload to breach a high-security zone undetected and carry out an attack to evaluate preparation and response.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, on a three-day visit to Ladakh, reviewed the situation by speaking to IAF vice chief Air Marshal H S Arora. Delhi-based Western Air Command chief Air Marshal V R Chaudhari flew to Jammu to take stock of the situation.

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