New Delhi: A careful examination of the bodies of the three terrorists killed by BSF personnel on Tuesday after they infiltrated into Jammu & Kashmir’s Samba, using an 80-metre long tunnel, has led to the discovery of an Afghanistan mobile number scribbled on one of the slain fidayeen’s inner arm.
The revelation has left investigators wondering why the number of a contact based in a third country was given to the attacker, suspected to be a Pakistani, by his handler. Intelligence Intelligence agencies suspect that the number was deliberately written on the terrorist’s arm to mislead post-attack probe by disguising the Pakistani origins of the fidayeen.
“The terrorists who infiltrated Samba were obviously on a fidayeen mission. Now, to have an operational number written conspicuously on the body of a suicide attacker is rather unusual, as it would immediately give away his origins and contacts. Prima facie, the Afghanistan contact number seems to be a red herring for investigators,” a top intelligence functionary said.
Investigators are trying to trace the person in whose name the number is registered in Afghanistan, apart from origins of the Motorola set recovered from the fidayeen.
Senior counter-terrorism experts say that leaving behind slips with names or numbers, particularly ones describing attacks as “revenge” for hanging of Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru, has been a known modus operandi of Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). JeM fidayeens had, in the January 3 attack on Mazar-eSharief consulate in Afghanistan, left behind graffiti in their own blood stating that their mission was intended to avenge Guru’s execution.
In the Pathankot attack too, a note was recovered from the car used by the attackers to access the airbase, stating that the purpose of the strike was to avenge Afzal’s hanging.
Recoveries from fidayeen who attacked the Nagrota camp also include a similar note mentioning Afzal.
Agencies are trying to find out whether the six terrorists who attacked the Army installation in Nagrota and three killed by BSF in Chamliyal (Samba) on the same day had a connection.
An examination of the 80 metre-long tunnel reveals that it could only transport a person only once to either end. “It is like a rat-hole, not exactly a proper tunnel. The soil there is soft and the opening of mouth probably cannot be used again. Besides, it is in the middle of a farmer’s field which now needs to be ploughed,” said an officer. Officials also said that the tunnel was probably being dug up for over two months, which means that Pak Rangers were well-aware of this new infiltration route.
BSF DG K K Sharma had claimed on Wednesday that three terrorists killed in Samba had sneaked in from Pakistan using this tunnel.