21 Dec 2023

Jammu and Kashmir: 5 soldiers martyred as terrorists ambush Army vehicles in Poonch


Five soldiers were martyred and two sustained injuries when heavily armed terrorists ambushed two Army vehicles in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, officials said.

The vehicles came under attack in the Savni area on the Rajouri-Thanamandi-Surankote road around 3.30 pm. They were carrying jawans from an area near Bufliaz where a cordon-and-search operation against terrorists has been underway since Wednesday night.

The terrorists fired upon the vehicles -- a truck and a Gypsy -- leaving at least three jawans injured, the officials said.

The terrorists fired upon the vehicles -- a truck and a Gypsy -- killing three soldiers and seriously injuring three others, the officials said.

People's Anti-Fascist Front claimed responsibility

Two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir -- Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti -- strongly condemned the attack.

The People's Anti-Fascist Front, an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba, claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Jammu-based defense PRO Lieutenant Colonel Suneel Bartwal said a joint search operation was launched in the general area of Dhera Ki Gali in the Thanamandi-Surankote region of Poonch on Wednesday night on the basis of "hard intelligence" about the presence of terrorists.

The injured have been admitted to a hospital.

The operation is in progress and further details are being ascertained, the officials said.

Disturbing images and videos emerging from the site showed blood on the street, broken helmets of soldiers and shattered windscreens of the two Army vehicles.

The officials have not ruled out the possibility of the soldiers engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the terrorists during the intense confrontation.

They said there was a possibility that the terrorists had walked away with the arms of the targeted soldiers.

As the operation continues, authorities are diligently working to gather more information and do away with the threat posed by terrorists in the region.

5 soldiers were martyred last month


Last month, five soldiers including two Captains were martyred in action after the army and its special forces launched an anti-terror operation in Rajouri's Kalakote.

The region has become a hotbed of terrorists and a site of major attacks on the army over the past few years.

In April and May this year, 10 soldiers were killed in action in twin attacks in the Rajouri-Poonch region. This region had been largely free of terrorism between 2003 and 2021, after which frequent encounters started happening.

Over 35 soldiers have been killed in action during anti-terror operations in the area in the past two years.

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