Srinagar, Oct 24: A Pakistani LeT militant under detention for fourteen years has been killed, while three security personnel injured in a fresh gunfight between militants and security forces in the woods Bhata Durrian in Mendhar area of J&K's Poonch district on Sunday,officials said.
An official told Greater Kashmir that Zia Mustafa, a resident of Rawalakot, lodged in high security Kot Bhalwal jail since 2003, was shifted to Mendhar on 14 days' police remand in connection with FIR 107/2021 registered in Gursai police station related to the encounter in Bhata Dhurian Nar Khas forests in which four army soldiers including a JCO were killed on October 14. Earlier on October 11, five soldiers were killed with a gunfight with the same group of militants.
Zia was reportedly taken to a militant hideout after investigation "revealed his links" to the hiding militants in the area on Sunday morning. He was reportedly injured along with the three security personnel in the encounter that ensued between militants and security forces.
"During searches in late noon hours, the militant was found lying dead and his body has now been retrieved, " an official told Greater Kashmir.
The operation in the forest areas in the twin border districts commenced on October 11 when militants ambushed a search party killing five soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in Surankote forest of Poonch before another gunfight in nearby Thanamandi on the same day.
On October 14, the militants struck again and killed four soldiers including a JCO in Nar Khas forest in Mendhar as the security forces extended the cordon and search operation in the area.
Drones and helicopters were pressed into service to assist the marching troops, which included para-commandos, in the jungle at a distance of four km from the Line of Control (LoC), the officials said.
Ten persons, including two women, were detained for questioning after it came to light that they allegedly provided logistic support including food and shelter to the hiding militants, the officials said.
An Army official said on Saturday that a major part of the forest was cleared and now the search area is restricted to a location housing a number of natural caves.
Traffic between Mendhar and Thanamandi along the Jammu-Rajouri highway remained suspended as a precautionary measure for the ninth day on Sunday in the wake of the ongoing operation.(With PTI inputs)