Highly Trained LeT Cadres Behind Uri Strike, Says Army

7 December 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: The Army today said the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was behind the Friday attack on an artillery installation in Mohura, Uri, that left eight Army men, including a Lieutenant Colonel and three policemen, dead. The Lashkar militants were trained like 'special forces', it said. The LeT, headed by India's most wanted terrorist and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, is accused of carrying out the 2009 Mumbai attacks. Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, Army's top officer in Kashmir, said the militants killed in Mohura and Nowgam sector in the past week were highly trained to carry special operations. Before Mohura, the Army had foiled an infiltration bid in the Nowgam sector of Kupwara district and shot six militants, who Army believe had planned a similar strike. 'There is enough evidence to indicate that both groups (Mohura and Nowgam) were from the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The terrorists were highly trained to carry special operations. The recoveries make it clear that things were manufactured in Pakistan,' the Srinagar-based General Officer Commanding of 15 Corps said in his first interaction after the recent attacks. 'The kind of ammunition they were carrying shows they were in for a big haul,' he said. The Army also displayed the weapons and ammunition recovered from the scene of the two encounters. The officer said the aim of the militants was to target civilian areas to create fear among people during polls. 'The aim must have been to come and strike at civilian targets to cause fear and disrupt the peaceful conditions ahead of the polls,' he said. He denied counter-infiltration grid failure that allowed militants to cross the LoC. The Corps Commander said the militants involved in the Mohura attack came from across the border, north of the Jhelum. 'The infiltration of the group would have taken place on December 3-4 night. They hid in the jungle and struck on the morning of December 5,' he said, adding the group had crossed the Jhelum by foot to target the Army installation at Uri, showing their level of training. Lieutenant General Saha, however, did not give the exact location from where the militants were pushed into the Valley. The officer said the sequence of events over the past week suggested it was a planned attack and not 'routine infiltration'. 'No doubt terrorists were highly trained, whether you talk of Nowgam or Uri attacks. All incidents leading up to the attacks, including ceasefire violation to smuggling and then the attack, can't have happened without coordination from across,' the Corps Commander said. 'Quite clearly, recent attacks are coordinated in time and space. In the backdrop of elections that saw high turnout, international events and now in Uri,' he added. The recent attacks, he said, had taken place because of elections in the state. 'The terror attacks took place because of the larger events taking place in Jammu and Kashmir,' he said, adding the recent attacks were coordinated. Since the first phase of elections in J&K on November 25, Kashmir has witnessed a spurt in violence that has left 31 persons, including 14 security men, same number of militants and three civilians dead.