India Identifies Air Base Attack Mastermind as Jaish-e-Mohammed Group Head
The Indian intelligence services identified the 'handlers' of an attack on its air base as chief members of the Jaish-e-Mohammed extremist group, with the plan of the attack conceived in Pakistan, local media reported Friday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A group of gunmen in army fatigues stormed the Pathankot air base in the Punjab region early on January 2. Four of the attackers were taken out in a shootout that also killed at least seven security personnel. The exchange of fire continued into the third day as the gunmen launched an offensive.
According to the Zee television channel citing intelligence sources, the group's leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, and his three accomplices 'handled' the attack. Two of the attackers had previously hijacked an Indian passenger plane.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained since they declared independence from Britain almost 70 years ago. Both countries lay claims to the Kashmir region in India's north. The attacked Pathankot base lies on the road to the contested area.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed group, designated as terrorist in numerous countries, seeks to separate Kashmir from India.
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