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Three IAF personnel and five terrorists were killed in a fierce gun battle after an attack on an air force base in Punjab’s Pathankot district earlier this month.

On January 2nd, a group of men in army-style clothing launched the daring attack less than 24 hours after an alarm was sounded in the state over the assault of a top police officer by suspected Pakistani terrorists.

The investigations into the Pathankot attack makes it clear that two terrorists had entered into the air force station on January 1, 2016 itself. The rest of the four terrorists entered the air base the next day.

Investigations so far reveal that the original plan of the first group of terrorists was to take control over the air base as they were looking to destroy the assets.

However the first group did not manage to gain control over the assets and they waited near the base and ended up providing cover fire while the remaining four terrorists tried gaining entry into the air force station. The idea was to first gain control over the assets and then blow themselves up with the help of the explosive belt that each one had strapped around them.

In a statement, the Indian Air Force has revealed that the “group of terrorists were detected by the aerial surveillance platforms as soon as they entered the Air Force Station at Pathankot”.

“The infiltrators were immediately engaged and contained within a limited area, thus preventing them from entering the Technical zone where high value assets are parked,” the IAF said.

Indian Armed Forces operate Israeli built Heron and Searcher Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) both of which are fitted with extremely sensitive thermal devices which can pick up the movement of infiltrators based on heat signatures that their bodies generate.

The air base’s own Mi-35 choppers have also been upgraded with Israeli-built thermal imaging systems which can also track the movement of people even in zero light conditions.

Border police chief Vijay Singh said the operation to eliminate the terrorists who entered the base had lasted three hours.