Two Pakistani terrorists believed to be Lashkar-e-tayiba members, were gunned down by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad in Noida, bordering the national capital ,New Delhi, early on Sunday morning.
The incident has sent shock waves in the capital particularly in view of the Republic Day celebrations on Monday.
According to state additional director general of police (law and order) Brij Lal, "The terrorists were intercepted and killed after a chase and a 30-minute encounter in which there was an exchange of at least 4045 rounds."
Besides two AK- 47 assault rifles, the police have recovered five grenades and Pakistani passports from their possession.
He said, "one ATS official was also injured during the course of the encounter which took place in Noida's sector 97, just off the Taj expressway."
Confirming their Pakistani origin, Lal said, "The recovery of two Pakistani passports from their possession confirmed their identities as Abu Ismail and Ahmad Ali ." However , they were found to be carrying two fake identity cards of a Delhi based educational institution.
The cops do not rule out the possibility of a larger conspiracy by the LeT to disrupt the Republic Day parade .
The ADGP claimed, "In view of intelligence inputs about a possible terrorist strike on the Republic Day, we were maintaining a strict vigil right across the state and it was a part of that drill that we received information about the movement of two men with sophisticated weapons in Noida."
He said, "A crack ATS team was promptly detailed to intercept the white Maruti car in which the two armed men had been spotted and no sooner than they realized that they were being trailed, they opened fire following which there was a continued exchange of bullets."
Cops do suspect the role of a local in the incident. "We are in the process of investigating into other details , so that we could know if the terrorists were receiving assistance from a local contact," he said.
Meanwhile a team of top officials has been flown from Lucknow to gather more information , "that could be vital to the security of the nation on the eve of the Republic Day."