Govt hands over probe into Jammu airport drone attack to NIA

Govt hands over probe into Jammu airport drone attack to NIA

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday formally handed over the investigation into the first of its kind drone attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Jammu on Sunday to the national Investigation Agency (NIA).

A spokesperson in the MHA said, the probe into the attack on the Jammu air force station has been handed over to the NIA.

Before the decision taken by the MHA, multiple agencies, including the NIA, National Security Guards (NSG) along with the local police and Air Force authorities were looking into the terror attack case.

“In investigations at the attack site, the investigators have not yet been able to find parts of any drone. This suggests that the drones used to carry out the attack dropped the explosives over the airbase and were navigated away from the area by their handlers,” sources said.

NIA had sent its team from Srinagar office to the Jammu Air Force station early Sunday morning to collect some primary evidence from the blast site. Later, evidence was sent to Delhi for forensic tests, officials in the NIA said.

Meanwhile, sources said, investigators have also retrieved two unexploded IEDs from the blast site, which could hold clues for further investigation, as they have added to the mystery to the attack leading to suspicion that the two suspected drones had a significant payload carrying capacity.

“The aerial attack is a first of its kind in the country. But this is the 45th drone strike carried out across the globe so far this year. While drone strikes are carried out by state agencies, aerial hits by terror groups through such machines are dubbed ‘attacks’ and the agencies are seeking to discriminate between the two through the ongoing investigation,” a senior official in the investigative agency said.

The explosions took place around 1.40 am within six minutes of each other. The first blast ripped off the roof of a single-storey building at the technical area of the airport manned by the IAF in Satwari area on the outskirts of the city. The second one was on the ground.

The officials said the explosive material dropped by the drones might have been manufactured using a cocktail consisting of RDX, but a final confirmation was still awaited.


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