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BSF still looking for a breach of the international border

07 January, 2016

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NEW DELHI: India’s Border Security Force (BSF), in its preliminary report on the Pathankot fiasco to the home ministry on Wednesday, said it was still looking for a breach of the international border though the focus of further investigations would be to look for any old or existing tunnels from Pakistan.

While the combing operations are under way to sanitise the Pathankot IAF base that was under siege for four days, the BSF has submitted a preliminary report to the ministry on the breach of security along the border, CNN-IBN news channel said.

It quoted unnamed sources as saying the BSF was yet to find any breach in the international border. “The BSF has in fact, turned its focus to look for possible tunnels or tractions that were used by the terrorists to infiltrate the border. A final report on the same will be submitted only after the BSF Director General D.K. Pathak returns from his tour of the international border.”

Security officials have said that though all the six terrorists have been killed, the combing operations may continue for a day or two more at the forward base where seven security personnel were killed.

Meanwhile, in what could further nail Pakistan’s hand in the Pathankot attacks, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) team investigating the case has found footprints from Pakistan shoe brand Epcot in Bamiyal area of Punjab.

With the focus shifting on investigation, anti-terror probe agency NIA’s chief Sharad Kumar was to arrive in Pathankot on Wednesday afternoon for an on-the-spot assessment. Kumar had said that solving the conspiracy behind the attack was a “very big challenge” but recalled how the agency had in the past established the identity of culprits in many blind cases.

“It’s a very challenging case and a lot of investigation needs to be done.“ Therefore, I am not fixing any deadline to the case but we will try to complete the probe soon,” the channel quoted Kumar as saying.

Asked about the nationality of the terrorists involved in the Pathankot attack, Kumar had said there was little doubt that the suspects were from Pakistan and added “whatever evidence that is available in front of us till now is based on intercepted telephone calls between the terrorists and their handlers and family members across the border”.

He, however, refrained from naming the terror group responsible for the attack, saying “Let us work first. We will be able to establish everything once we have some evidence to support our claims. The case has to be proved before the court of law and therefore I will refrain from making statements on speculation.”

CNN-IBN said the alleged terrorists were believed to owe allegiance to Pakistan-based Jaish-i-Mohammad.

Kumar had said the probe was at an initial stage and refused to confirm if Pakistan’s external spy agency ISI had a role to play in the incident. “I can’t say whether ISI is involved or not. Let us see what happens after our probe is completed,” he said.

NIA had on Tuesday registered three cases in connection with the brazen terror strike, including the murder of a taxi driver, kidnapping of a superintendent of police and attack on the IAF base on the intervening night of January 1 and 2.

The NIA chief said Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) team was already assisting the 20-member agency team that is camping in Pathankot after the news of terror strike broke on Jan 2.

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