NIA to probe drone attacks on Jammu Air Force Station

The Centre on Tuesday entrusted the investigation into the drone attacks on the Jammu Air Force Station to the federal anti-terror probe agency—National Investigation Agency (NIA)—as the case entails suspected international ramifications in the first of its kind aerial terror attack on a defence installation.

Meanwhile, the preliminary probe by a security agency has dubbed the explosions as “low intensity blasts.”

The decision to hand over the probe into the twin blasts at the Indian Air Force station was taken by the Union Home Ministry on Tuesday. The NIA had already joined the probe before being formally tasked to investigate the case.

In a statement, the NIA on Tuesday said it has reregistered the case, initially registered by the Jammu police on a complaint from the IAF. The NIA further said, “The case relates to an explosion that occurred inside the premises of the Air Force Station, Satwari campus, Jammu on 27.06.2021 and a subsequent blast, after about 6 minutes carried out by drones in a well-planned conspiracy that led to the injury to two Air Force personnel and damaged the office buildings.”

While NIA has been working with other agencies immediately after the incident, after re-registration of the case, requisite actions as per law, for expeditious investigation of case have been initiated, it added.

It is suspected that Pakistan-based terror masterminds helped their cohorts based in the Valley in assembling the drones through smuggled knocked down parts from Pakistan and deployed them to drop explosive payloads  in the wee hours on Sunday in the technical area of the air force station. The blasts caused minor injuries to two airmen at the logistics and communication hub. The bombs were suspected to have been aimed at hitting a helicopter parked in the dispersal area.

Initial signatures of the explosions indicate use of a high grade explosive material like RDX for fabrication of the IEDs that hit the air force station. However, forensic reports of the explosive material are awaited for a final conclusion on  the nature of the chemical used in the bombs, officials said.

In the absence of any debris of the drones, the machines are suspected to have fled back across the border or to any other location in the area around Jammu in the dead of the night after dropping the bombs at the air force station. Investigators are searching for clues to get to the root of the larger conspiracy and reach the perpetrators who executed the blasts.

The aerial distance from the Jammu airport to the international border is 14 km, leading to suspicions that the drones might have originated from across the border.

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