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J&K: Operation Continues ​After Deadly Attack on Army in Poonch's Dera Ki Gali

Anees Zargar |
Army party came under attack during an anti-terror operation in the Surankote area; Personnel travelling in two military vehicles were moving towards another operation site before the ambush.
poonch terrorist attack

Poonch: Army personnel during a cordon and search operation after two Army vehicles were ambushed by terrorists on Thursday, in Poonch district, Friday, Dec. 22, 2023. (PTI Photo)

Srinagar: A massive search operation by security forces continued on Friday after a deadly attack by militants in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir yesterday resulted in the killing of at least five Indian army soldiers and injured at least two others, officials said.  

According to an ​Army official, an ​Army party came under attack during an anti-terror operation in the Surankote area at Dera Ki Gali at about 3:45 pm. The militants, believed to be between two-three in number, were ambushed while the security forces were travelling on the perilous road at Dhatyar Morh between DKG and Bufliaz. 

"Based on hard intelligence, a joint operation was launched in the general area of DKG last night. Contact has been established this evening, and encounter is in progress," the Army's Jammu-based spokesperson said in a statement.

The personnel travelling in two military vehicles were moving towards another operation site before the ambush. The assailants opened indiscriminate fire targeting the soldiers, following which four soldiers, identified as Birendra Singh, Karan Kumar, Chandan Kumar and Gautam Kumar, were reportedly killed, while others identified as Sundeep Kumar, Shyam Sundar Das and Todmal Dnyaneshwar Bhaskarrav were injured. Sources, however, claimed that another soldier reportedly succumbed to his injuries later. 

Following the incident, the authorities and security forces heightened the security vigil throughout the Pir Panjal Valley and also launched intensive search operations in Chenab Valley’s Kishtwar area to locate the attackers. 

The Indian Army and its White Knight Corps (16 corps) paid tributes to the fallen soldiers. “Salute the bravery and supreme sacrifice of four soldiers in Surankote on Dec 21, 2023, while fighting the scourge of terrorism,” the ​Army wrote on X. 

Senior police and army officials have also reached the area to review the situation in the region, which has witnessed a spike in militant violence since last year. Thursday’s attack is the third such major attack in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in which at least 15 soldiers have been killed. The first such attack was carried out on April 20 near Bhimber Gali in Poonch and was followed by another on May 5 in Rajouri’s Kandi Forest. The rise in incidents outside the Kashmir valley, especially in the deep forest areas, is seen as one of the major challenges faced by the security forces in the region. 

The attack was widely condemned by the political leadership in the region, which called for efforts to bring peace to the restive region. 

“Distressed to hear about the loss of four brave soldiers and injuries to three others in a terrorist attack in Surankote Poonch. May the departed souls be blessed with peace, and the injured personnel see a swift recovery. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and at the same time urge the authorities to take enough measures to ensure long-lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir,” Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said in a statement. 

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