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Four Militants Killed After Night-long Encounter in Poonch

The anti-militancy operation is seen as a significant success in the Pir Panjal Valley, which witnessed a surge in militancy-related incidents.

Srinagar: Four suspected militants have been killed in an encounter in Pir Panjal Valley that began last night after a joint operation was launched by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the Indian Army, officials said on Tuesday.

The encounter was reported from the Poonch district’s Surankote area near Sindarah and Maidana villages, following which an exchange of gunfire continued intermittently throughout the night. After a brief lull, firing was reported again in the early morning hours until the four casualties were ascertained. The identities of the militants have not been made public yet.

The official Twitter account of 16 Corps, Indian Army – ‘White Knight Corps’ – in a statement said that the operation, named ‘Trinetra II’, was carried out after they received specific intelligence input about the presence of a group of militants in the area.

“Along with the terrorists, four AK 47, two Pistols, and other war-like stores were also recovered. Elimination of these terrorists has avoided major terrorist initiated incidents in Rajouri and Poonch areas.  Search operations are still in progress,” the statement read.

The encounter was reported after security officials said that a “major infiltration bid” was thwarted in the Poonch sector the previous night that concluded with the killing of two suspected infiltrators. The operation termed ‘Bahadur’ was also jointly carried out by the Indian Army and the J&K Police.

Poonch and Rajouri areas witnessed some of the worst attacks in January, April, and May this year. Seven civilians and at least 10 Indian Army soldiers were killed in separate militant attacks flaring up the situation in the region.

Tuesday’s operation is being seen as one of the major successes in the Pir Panjal Valley, which has witnessed a surge in militancy-related incidents since last year. About a dozen such encounters have been reported in the region since January; at least ten militants have been killed, while five others were arrested.

Most of these operations were conducted near the Line of Control (LoC) to thwart infiltration bids. Of the total 32 militants killed this year, the majority were killed close to the LoC. This indicates an uptick in border violence when a fragile ceasefire agreement has been held between India and Pakistan since February 2021.

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