Intruding drones were programmed with Google Maps, Lashkar role suspected

An LeT man arrested a day before the drone attack could hold clues to the attack, say J&K police sources

NIA takes over probe of Jammu Airport bombing that caused minor injuries to two IAF personnel.Representational image: PTI

As the National Investigation Agency (NIA) takes over the probe into the twin drone strike on the Jammu air force station on Sunday (June 27), investigators suspect that two drones were used in the attack and were programmed with Google Maps to reach the target. But these drones appear to have missed the target as one of the blasts occurred in a building adjoining the hangar where helicopters were stationed and another in an open area.

The J&K police following several leads suspect the role of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba in the attack, a media report said.

The police had detained an LeT operative with nearly 5 kg of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) outside a shopping mall on Saturday (June 26) evening. A police team from Jammu later recovered documents, including books, from the house of the operative in Banihal, an unidentified police officer told The Indian Express.

A case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been registered in the blast case. On Tuesday (June 29), the NIA registered a case under the Explosive Substances Act, UAPA, and IPC sections on criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder.

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A National Security Guard team is investigating the nature of the explosive devices used in the blasts in which two IAF personnel sustained minor splinter injuries.

No parts or material have turned up in searches conducted within the station and surrounding areas, prompting investigators to suspect that the drones may have crossed the border after dropping the payloads. The possibility of a local handler is also being probed, sources said.

“A mix of RDX with some other explosive material appears to have been used to make the payload lighter so that these flying machines could cover more distance. Investigations are in progress,” said a source.

The distance between the Jammu IAF station and the nearest International Border point at Phallian Mandal is around 14 km.

On Monday (June 28), the Army said it sighted drones over the Kaluchak-Ratnuchak military stations the previous night, and that its troops opened fire to avert “a major threat”.

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