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Four Soldiers Killed, Six Injured in Terrorist Attack in Kathua

Four Soldiers Killed, Six Injured in Terrorist Attack in Kathua

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NEW DELHI, July 8: Four Army personnel were killed and six injured after terrorists ambushed a military convoy in the remote Machedi area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on Monday afternoon.

The attack came when the Army vehicles were on a routine patrol on the Machedi-Kindli-Malhar road. After the initial attack – terrorists threw a grenade and then opened fire – the security forces retaliated but the terrorists fled into the nearby forest, officials said. The terrorists have been engaged in a major firefight with the Army after the attack.

The injured have been shifted to a hospital for treatment.

Preliminary reports suggested that an Army patrol, comprising light and heavy vehicles, came under fire from two directions when the convoy reached Jenda Nallah of Badnota village, which is 124 k.m. away from the district headquarter of Kathua town. The incident took place around 3:30 p.m.

The patrolling vehicles were from the Army’s 9 Corps (Rising Star Corps). The militants, whose number is not immediately known, mounted the attack at a place which has a hilltop on one side and a steep slope on the other side. Initial reports suggested the attackers came down from the hilltop side. One truck bore the brunt of the militants’ fire.

Officials said the terrorists were engaged in a firefight following the attack. Reinforcements have been rushed to the encounter site “to ensure the militants do not flee from the encounter site.” The critically injured soldiers were shifted to the Kathua hospital. A few were treated at a local health centre.

The attack came on the death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen ‘commander’ Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter on June 8, 2016 in south Kashmir. The attack is also worrying as it coincided with the visit of General Upendra Dwivedi, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), just four days ago. General Dwivedi was also briefed by the Rising Star Corps, which is in-charge of Kathua.

It is the fourth militancy-related incident in the past 48 hours in Jammu & Kashmir. Six militants and two soldiers were killed in south Kashmir on July 6-7 in two separate encounters. One soldier was injured in an attack in Rajouri on Saturday morning. Earlier, two militants and a CRPF jawan were killed and six security personnel were injured in twin encounters on June 11-12. Three non-local militants were killed in Doda on June 27. Nine pilgrims were also killed on June 9 in an ambush by terrorists.

The Jammu region’s twin valleys, the Chenab Valley and the Pir Panjal Valley, witnessed increased militant activities this year. Last week, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in Parliament the fight against terrorism in J&K was in its last stage, and that a multi-pronged strategy had been adopted to destroy the remaining network. “Our fight against terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, in a way, is in last stage, last leg. We are moving with a multi-pronged strategy to eliminate the remaining terror network there,” Mr Modi had said.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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