Jaish snipers launched in Valley to introduce element of surprise
Jammu, Oct 29: Jaish-e-Mohammad has a new weapon in the Valley. The sudden surge of snipers belonging to the terror outfit has left the security agencies worried.
The first sniper attack took place on September 18, when a CRPF personnel was injured at Newa in Pulwama. While at first it was seen as a one off attack, the concerns grew after three more attacks claimed the lives of a Sashstra Seema Bal jawan and an Army personal in Tral and a CISF jawan in Nowgam.
While the Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack, the concern is that this new strategy by terrorists would require an overhaul of the security mechanism.
An Intelligence Bureau official told OneIndia that this is a new strategy that has been adopted by the Jaish. They wanted to move away from their routine attacks and introduced an element of surprise. The official also said that the sniper team comprises four persons from the Jaish who move around in buddy pairs.
They may have entered into the Valley from Pakistan in early September and have positioned themselves at Pulwama. Their infiltration was aided by six overground workers of the Jaish, the officer also said.
Officials also said that they are using the M-4 Carbines. The same weapon, it may be recalled was found on Sameer Tiger, the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist who was recently killed in an encounter with the security forces. The sniper team was trained thoroughly by the ISI, before they were launched into the Valley, officials also say. The M-4 carbine is mounted with a telescope and the terrorists are using night vision devices to locate their potential targets, the officials said. The weapon can fire at its target up to 500-600 metres with precision.
In all the instances of sniper attacks, the terrorists used a nearby hillock to carry out strikes on a security force campus when unsuspecting jawans were using their mobile phones to talk to their family or friends.
These attacks have been precise, even while targeting a personnel inside a sentry post as he uses his mobile phone. They pick up the light of the mobile phone to carry out the attack on jawans, officials also said.
Meanwhile the security mechanism has upped its guard and a manhunt launched to track down these snipers. The worry is that there could be more attempts by Pakistan to launch snipers and hence a high alert too has been sounded in the Valley.
A letter written by Kashmir IGP, S Pani says that there is a concern over sniper attacks by terrorist groups. The letter also suggests safety measures such as raising the height of the walls around security camps. Further the letter also states that there is a need to sensitise the forces to this new trend.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has reacted to the rising cases of sniper attacks. "We've dealt with snipers on the border/LoC regularly and have SOPs to deal with those but never in the hinterland. This will force a rethink of all manner of security and protection procedures."