Paratroopers inducted; terrain, dense forests prolong Poonch operation

Paratroopers inducted; terrain, dense forests prolong Poonch operation
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Srinagar, Oct 15: Paratroopers have been inducted to take on heavily-armed militants hiding in the woods of Poonch district which is witnessing one of the deadliest encounters in the Union Territory in recent times.

With the loss of two soldiers on Thursday, the army suffered seven casualties this week in the ongoing Poonch operation.

Meanwhile, the police said that they were not sure that it was the same group which killed five soldiers earlier in Chamrer forests of Surankote bordering Rajouri on Monday.

“Massive operation against a group of terrorists is underway in Nar Khas forests of Mendhar,” Additional Director General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh told Greater Kashmir. “Our people are also there and efforts are on to flush out terrorists,” he said.

Mukesh Singh said they were not sure that the group which was involved in the attack and subsequent killing of five army soldiers on Monday was the same hiding in Nar Khas forests. “We are not sure that this is the same terrorist group and hopefully things will be clear very soon,” ADGP said, adding, “Hopefully terrorists will be tracked down soon. It is tough terrain with dense forests.”

On Friday, the army said two soldiers, who were critically injured on Thursday evening in Nar Khas forests, succumbed to their wounds. These two fresh fatalities have taken the toll of army soldiers since the gun battle first broke out at Chamrer forests of Surankote during the intervening night of October 10 and 11, to seven.

On Monday, the army had engaged militants in a fierce encounter in a forest area at Dehra Ki Gali. However, the militants managed to escape from the area. On Thursday, another encounter started at Mendhar forest, a few kilometres away from Dhera Ki Gali.

Reliable sources in the army said that para-troopers had joined the operation. “More reinforcements have arrived including special forces,” sources said, adding that army personnel were advancing cautiously towards the forest area.

“The terrorists, who are heavily armed, seem to be well entrenched in the forests,” sources said, adding that the operation to flush them out was proving to be a little bit tough. “Terrain and dense forests are reasons that operation has prolonged,” they added.

In Jammu zone, this year there have been a number of encounters in Rajouri and Poonch districts, mostly on the LoC or close to the site of infiltration.

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