Day 6: Kokernag encounter continues with fresh assault on terrorist hideouts
Srinagar: The operation to kill terrorists in the Gadole Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district entered the sixth day on Monday even as there were reports of a fresh assault on caves where terrorists are believed to be hiding.
The intense gunfight between the security forces and Pakistani terrorists has lasted more than 120 hours now and hundreds of soldiers of the Army, paratroopers, J&K Police, and paramilitary commandos are involved in the search operation inside the forests of Gadol.
The joint operation by the Army and Police was launched on Tuesday night after receiving intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area.
The Army and Police officers were leading the troops and were on the lookout for terrorists in a hideout when the first gunfight began.
Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Colonel Manpreet Singh and Major Ashish Dhonchak of the 19 RR, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Humayun Bhat were martyred on the first day of the encounter as the officers were leading from the front.
The Army and the Police have deployed additional troops around the forest and sealed off all escape routes as part of the operation.
They had also utilised various aerial assets, including helicopters, quadcopters, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) like the Israeli Heron Mark-2 to pinpoint the terrorists' locations.
The Army also employed Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGL) and Rocket Propelled Grenades to target terror hideouts.
Special forces and soldiers trained in mountain warfare were deployed to engage the terrorists.
Official sources here said that on Monday, joint parties carried out the fresh assault on caves where terrorists were hiding.
“There was a drizzle today again but the security forces are on the job,” sources in the security establishment said. “The cordon has been further strengthened.”
The sources said that hi-tech equipment was being used by the security forces for surveillance along with the high impact of precision fire.
They said that the security forces WERE using drones AND quadcopters to locate terrorists’ hideouts in the dense forest.
“Terrorists hiding in dense forest areas are taking advantage of difficult terrain,” the sources said.
They said that the security forces on Monday fired several mortar shells towards the forest as the encounter resumed. “The mortars are fired after hi-tech drones pinpoint the location of the terrorist in the cave-like hideouts in the forest area,” the sources said.
The area of operation has been widened to villages in the neighbourhood.
“The security cordon has been extended to the neighbouring areas as a precautionary measure to ensure that terrorists don’t slip into civilian habitation,” the sources said.