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J&K: Five Suspected Militants, Three Army Soldiers Killed in the Last few Days

Anees Zargar |
The security forces on Monday said that an infiltration attempt was thwarted along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch district of Jammu.
Two Militants Killed near LoC in North Kashmir's Macchil Sector

Image for representational purpose.

Srinagar: Three Indian Army soldiers and five suspected militants were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the last few days in separate incidents as security forces are engaged in multiple search operations against the militants in the region, officials said.

The security forces on Monday said that an infiltration attempt was thwarted along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch district of Jammu. Indian Army’s Jammu-based spokesperson Lt. Col. Suneel Bartwal, in a statement, said that a joint operation was launched by the armed forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police in the wee hours to fight the infiltrators.

“Two infiltrating terrorists were engaged by the joint teams of the Indian Army and the JKP. One terrorist fell down immediately, and the second terrorist tried to run back to LoC but was engaged and hit. He was seen falling down,” he said, adding that the operation is ongoing.

This is the third incident reported from the Pir Panjal Valley in the last three days. Earlier, on Sunday, a suspected militant was killed in an encounter in the Bariyama area of Rajouri while security forces had launched an operation to track attackers involved in the killing of three Indian Army soldiers in South Kashmir’s Kulgam – right across the Pir Panjal mountain range. The search operation, which entered its third day on Monday, was being carried out in areas with difficult terrain and thick forest cover, an official said.

The incident followed after the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday said that a suspected militant was killed in an encounter in the Rajouri district’s Gundha-Khawas village in the Budhal area.

The Pir Panjal areas have been witnessing an uptick in militant violence since last year, following which the police and security establishment have increased countermeasures to tackle both infiltration and local consolidation. The region witnessed two worst attacks in recent years against armed forces in April and May, in which ten soldiers were killed in Bhimber Galli and Kandi Forests, respectively. The attacks were believed to be carried out by a group known as the People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), which the security agencies believe is a front of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

The PAFF also claimed the attack in Kulgam on August 5 through a message on the Telegram network and even circulated a purported picture of the incident. The claims, however, could not be verified.

The armed forces later on Sunday paid homage to the fallen soldiers, which included a resident of North Kashmir’s Bandipora. According to Army’s Srinagar-based spokesperson Lt Col MK Sahu, Havildar Babulal Haritwal, Signalman Vala Mahipalsinh Pravinsinh and Rifleman Waseem Sarwar were killed in the Operation Halan of Kulgam.

Haritwal, 39, belonged to Village Hanutpura in Rajasthan, Pravinsinh, who was 27, belonged to Village Viratnagar of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, while Rifleman Waseem Sarwar, 29, belonged to Dachigam village of Bandipora.

“The mortal remains of Late Havildar Babulal Haritwal, Late Signalman Vala Mahipalsinh Pravinsinh, and Rifleman Waseem Sarwar have been taken for last rites to their native places, where they would be laid to rest with full military honours,” the army statement read.

In another unsuccessful infiltration attempt, the Kashmir Zone Police said that the Army and Kupwara police, in a joint operation, thwarted a bid in which a militant was killed along the LoC in the Amrohi area of Tangdhar Sector in North Kashmir on Sunday.

This year, as many as 14 soldiers, including two paratroopers, have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir, a majority of them in the Poonch-Rajouri areas. The local militant presence, however, is considered to be at an all-time low in 2023, according to officials privy to the security situation of the region.

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