Published On: Fri, Dec 22nd, 2023

Security forces detain local suspects after Army convoy ambush in J&K’s Poonch amid continued operation

Jammu: A massive anti-terror operation is currently underway after four soldiers lost their lives, and three others sustained injuries as heavily armed terrorists ambushed two Army vehicles in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

Stretch between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz has been a hotspot for violence

The attack occurred at a blind curve at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz, under the jurisdiction of Surankote police station, around 3:45 pm. The security forces are conducting a massive search operation in and around Dera Ki Gali, also known as the DKG area after the incident. A joint search and combing operation is being conducted by the Indian Army, CRPF and the J&K Police.

Meanwhile, security forces have detained several local suspects from the Dera Ki Gali for questioning and investigation into the incident.

The People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), has reportedly claimed responsibility for the deadly ambush. Former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir – Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti – have strongly condemned the attack. Reacting to the incident, National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah said, “…Even today there is terrorism in J&K, there has just been an incident. Terrorism has not ended. They(Central govt) are only talking about increasing tourism in Kashmir. Even if one tourist gets shot, no one will come here….”

The targeted vehicles were en route to a cordon-and-search operation when the terrorists launched the ambush. According to Jammu-based Defence PRO Lt Col Suneel Bartwal, the joint search operation was initiated based on “hard intelligence” about the presence of terrorists. As additional forces moved to the site, the terrorists opened fire on the Army vehicles—a truck and a Gypsy. The troops promptly responded, leading to a tragic outcome with four soldiers losing their lives and three sustaining injuries.

The operation is currently in progress, and officials are actively working to gather further details. Disturbing images and videos from the site depict the aftermath, with blood on the street, broken helmets, and shattered windscreens of the Army vehicles. There is speculation that soldiers might have engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the terrorists during the intense confrontation, and there are concerns that the terrorists may have taken away arms belonging to the targeted soldiers.

As the operation unfolds, authorities are diligently working to gather more information and mitigate the threat posed by terrorists in the region. This incident follows a recent major gunfight in the Dharmsal belt of the Bajimaal forest area in the nearby Rajouri district, where five Army personnel, including two captains, lost their lives last month.

The stretch between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz has been a hotspot for violence, with dense forests leading to Chamrer and Bhata Dhurian forests. The region has witnessed multiple encounters this year, resulting in 54 casualties, including 19 security personnel and 28 terrorists. Officials attribute the surge in violence to “desperate attempts from across the border” to revive terrorism in the region.

In the face of this tragic incident, the authorities are grappling with the ongoing challenge of maintaining security in the border region, where terrorists have been persistent in their attempts to infiltrate.

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