Updates: Lashkar-e-Tayiba behind Gurdaspur attack, says MHA sources

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Gurdaspur, July 27: Dressed in army uniform, three gunmen opened fire at a police station in Gurdaspur. The gunmen who were said to be carrying AK-47 rifles, first opened fire on a Punjab state road transport bus before attacking the police station. Seven persons including three civilians and four police personnel have died in the attack.

The gunmen who came in a white Maruti car began firing indiscriminately at around 5 am today. They first attacked the bus and then shot at the station house officer at the Dinapur police station in Gurdaspur. The officer is said to have died in the attack. The gunmen then entered into the police station and took control of the same.

gurdaspur

Here are the Live Updates:

8:17 pm: At the end of the operation, the police recovered three AK-47 rifles, 2 GPS units and China made grenades.

8:14 pm: The MHA has stated that it was the Lashkar-e-Tayiba which was behind the attack. As stated by one injured personnel, no woman was involved in the attack.

8:06 pm: Sole intention of attacks were to derail Indo-Pak talks, terrorists had come on suicide mission, say government sources.

8.00 pm: The Government has ruled out the possibility of Sikh militants being involved in the attack.

7.30 pm: National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval said that the attack was a very serious one. We are taking into account all angles and possibilities, Doval also said.

7.00 pm: The precision with which the attack was carried out suggests that terrorists had planned this well in advance. The attack and the signature clearly shows that the terrorists had planned this much in advance and had come to carry out a major operation.

6.40 pm: Terrorists who carried out the attack at Gurdaspur were well equipped to carry out a long and hard fought battle. They kept chanting slogans as they fired indiscriminately at the security forces who battled them for over 9 hours today.

A meeting of the Home Minister which is being attended by National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval will discuss the scenario in the wake of these attacks. There has been an intelligence failure and none expected that the militants from Pakistan would come down to Punjab and stage an attack of this nature.

5.40 pm: The terrorists were carrying two GPS kits. All of them had come well prepared for combat, Sumedh Singh Saini, DGP of the Punjab informed.

5.20 pm: The Punjab police have said that there were only three terrorists who carried out the operation. All three have been neutralised and the operation has come to a close.

"It is the Lashkar-e-Taiba which carried out the attack", the police also pointed out.

5.05 pm: The officials say that the attack was carried out by a team of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The fact that the infiltration into India happened through the Hiranagar area points towards the Lashkar.

5.00 pm: The operation has officially ended at Gurdaspur.

4.55 pm: The operation at Gurdaspur is drawing towards a close. An official confirmation regarding the end of the operation is awaited in some time.

4.48 pm: Third terrorist killed.

4.30 pm: The death toll in the attack has been placed at 7 by the Ministry for Home Affairs. Three civilians and four police personnel have died in the attack.

4.00 pm: The possibility of the terrorists belonging to Pakistan is not being ruled out. IB officials say that there is a good chance of these being Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists.

2.55 pm: The SWAT team from Jammu and Kashmir has reached Gurdaspur and will assist in the operation

2.23 pm: One more terrorist has been killed in Gurdaspur. Two of the four terrorists are dead, official sources informed.

2.05 pm: The officer who was killed in the cross fire between security forces and the terrorists has been identified as Baljeet Singh. He was a superintendent of police (detective wing) of the Punjab police

12.58 pm: An officer in the rank of a superintendent of police has been hit in the cross firing. Operations to neutralise the terrorists are still on and there is heavy exchange of fire in Gurdaspur.

12.55 pm: Red Alert sounded in Punjab, concedes Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal

12.38 pm: Terrorists still have a lot of ammunition. They open fire after intervals. Security forces have engaged with terrorists and are hopeful that they would be neutralised soon. Attempts are also on to nab them alive.

12.37 pm: Army uniforms worn by terrorists acted a major cover.

12.20 pm: An alert has been sounded in New Delhi following the attack. Security forces have been directed to be on high alert in most North Indian states, especially at Delhi.

IB officials have said that Punjab militants have Delhi very high on their radar. Security around Parliament too has been stepped up.

11.47 am: Terrorists are on a suicide mission. They have come with an intention of dying after inflicting massive damage- Intelligence Bureau

11.42 am: Death toll has risen to 6.   Meanwhile, officials say that the terrorists had crossed in from Pakistan.

11.00 am:The terrorists are said to have crossed over from Pakistan into India through the Hiranagar border in Jammu. Hiraganar is around 90 kilometres from Gurdaspur

10.44 am: IB alert was general ahead of Kargil day. No specific alerts were issued. Gurdaspur was not on radar since 1990

10.37 am: One terrorist has been killed. Four more are remaining. Intelligence Bureau officials confirm that the terrorists slipped into India from Pakistan late last night. The suspicion is that they came from the Narowal area of Pakistan

10.35 am: Intelligence Bureau says that attack appears to be handiwork of a pro-Khalistan militant group. The terrorists are holed up in a house. Firing has stopped temporarily

10.20 am: Each militant has 150 rounds of AK-47 ammunition on them. Grenades not ruled out. Meanwhile, the security forces have been told to do their best to capture the terrorists alive.

10.10 am: Six persons are confirmed dead in the attack. The army has taken charge of the operation.

IB officials suspect that attack could be joint operation by Kashmir and Khalistan terrorists.

10.05 am: Security forces have not been able to establish contact with the terrorists. There are contradictory figures about the number of terrorists.

Sources however say that it is confirmed that there are four terrorists inside the police station. The terrorists continue to fire and appear to have a lot of ammunition on them. They have not made any demand

9.50 am: The families of the police personnel believed to have been taken hostage are safe. The Ministry for Home Affairs has said that there is no hostage crisis as of now.

9.45 am: The terrorists are said to have hijacked a Maruthi 800 car which belonged to the owner of a restaurant. The owner of the car is said to be injured in the attack. The terrorists assaulted the owner of the car before they took it with them and drove to the Gurdaspur police station.

At least seven families are said to have been taken hostage by the terrorists

9.44 am: The terrorists could have crossed over into India late last night, Intelligence Bureau officials say. They first hijacked a car and then executed the attack by around 5 am.

The intention was a hostage crisis considering the time of the attack. The terrorists were aware that security would be lax at that hour.

9.36 am: National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval has convened a meeting of the IB and R&AW chief to assess the terror attack in Punjab. There were no intelligence inputs specific to an attack in Gurdaspur.

The only alerts that were sounded were that militants from Punjab are looking to stage an attack in a bid to revive militancy in the state. The ISI has been accused of sheltering Punjab militants and were looking to launch them in the state since the past five years

9.21 am: The BSF will be pressed into service to assist the Punjab police to battle the terrorists at Gurdaspur

9.17 am: Security forces suspect that there could be more than four terrorists involved in the attack.
Cannot give a correct number, but we suspect there may be at least 10 or more, an officer said

9.14 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh has ordered stepping up of vigil along the Indo-Pak border

9.12 am: Massive search operations have been launched in and around Gurdaspur after live bombs were found on a railway track. The death toll has touched 3

9.05 am: The security forces are now dealing with a hostage crisis. The family members of two police personnel living at the quarters in the Gurdaspur police station have been taken hostage. No demand has been made as yet.

8.50 am: The terrorists are said to be holed up in the living quarters of the police men at the gurdaspur police station. The NSG has been pressed into service even as firing continues. The terrorists are said to be heavily armed

8.45 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh has called Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal to take stock of the situation. The Centre has assured of all possible help.

8.40 am: Firing between the security forces and the terrorists continues at Gurdaspur. The terrorists have not been neutralised as yet.

The government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the wake of this major terror attack.

Security has been stepped up and bomb disposal squads are checking for suspicious objects. The terrorists had left five live bombs on a railway track. the bombs have been defused.

8.31 am: The terrorists are said to have hijacked the white Maruthi car before they launched the attack early this morning.

8.25 am: The police confirm that it is a terror attack. The death toll has risen to two. The police have found explosives on the railway tracks at Gurdaspur thus suggesting that it was a major operation undertaken by the terrorists.

Operations began early in the morning

Several back up teams were been called in and senior police officials are supervising the situation. We are trying to neutralize the gunmen, a senior officer informed.

Police officials however add that it is too early to say as to who is behind this attack. None have claimed responsibility for the same as of now. There have also been no demands made and hence it is not possible to tell what the motive behind the attack could be.

The police have cordoned off the entire area. Operations are still on while security has been enhanced in all parts of Gurdaspur.

The attack comes in the wake of an intelligence bureau report which suggested that militants were aiming at making a comeback in Punjab. There have been various reports to suggest that Punjab militancy was on revival mode.

However, an Intelligence Bureau official informed that this is very similar to the spate of attacks that have been taking place in Kashmir. It is however too early to blame anyone for this attack, the officer also informed.

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