'Army looking into reports of snipers entering Kashmir Valley'
New Delhi, Oct 29: Army chief General Bipin Rawat Monday said the Army was looking into reports of snipers entering the Kashmir Valley to target defence personnel.
Three defence personnel were killed in sniper attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed militants since mid-September, prompting the law enforcement agencies to re-calibrate their strategy to thwart such strikes by the Pakistan-based group.
Responding to the pattern of attacks, the Army chief said the security force was studying whether the attacks were carried out by snipers.
"Whether these attacks have been done by snipers or not, this is something we are still studying.
"But to say that snipers have infiltrated and that they have sniper weapons...we have not found any sniper weapon," Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
He said to say snipers have come into the Valley was "premature".
Based on intelligence inputs, security agencies believe that at least two separate 'buddy' groups of the proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammed comprising two militants each entered Kashmir Valley in early September and have entrenched themselves in South Kashmir's Pulwama district with the help of some overground supporters of the outfit.
These militants, according to the officials, have been thoroughly trained by Pakistan's external snooping agency ISI for carrying out sniper attacks in the Valley and have been armed with M-4 carbines, used by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.
Rawat, however, said normal weapons could have been used to target the security personnel in the recent attacks as a good rifle has the range of 200-300 metres.
"I always believe in commenting when I have concrete evidence... to say that, yes, we have been able to trace some snipers and that we are fully aware that people have been trained in sniping, he added.