Srinagar: Security forces launched a massive assault with mortar shells to flush out terrorists responsible for the killing of four security forces personnel from a hilly forest in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Saturday, officials said.
The Army’s northern commander Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi reviewed the operational situation near the site of the gunfight that has been going on for four days.
Security forces have been chasing the terrorists, believed to be two or three in number, since Wednesday.
On the fourth day of the operation, drones and helicopters were used to track and neutralise the terrorists, officials said.
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The drones and helicopters were deployed keep surveillance in the hilly terrain and pinpoint the locations of the terrorists in the forest in Gadole in the Kokernag area of the south Kashmir district, the officials said.
As the assault was resumed on Saturday morning, the security forces fired several mortar shells towards the forest, they said.
They said there were several cave-like hideouts in the forest area and drones were being used to pinpoint their locations to carry out attacks on them. Drone footage showed a militant running for cover after one such hideout was hit by shells fired by security forces on Friday.
The Army’s northern commander on Saturday visited the site of the gunfight to take stock of the operational situation.
Lt Gen Dwivedi was briefed by the ground commanders on the high-intensity operations, in which hi-tech equipment is being used for surveillance and delivery of firepower, along with the high impact of precision fire being used by the forces.
”#LtGenUpendraDwivedi #ArmyCdr, Northern Command reviewed the operational situation on the ongoing operations at #Kokernag forest area in #Anantnag,” the Army’s Northern Command said in a post on X.
The commander inspected the drone which has been used to survey the area and track the terrorists, the officials said.
He also interacted with troops deployed in the operation, they added. The police believe two to three terrorists are trapped in the forest area as the forces maintained a tight cordon.
Additional Director General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar late Friday night said the operation was launched on the basis of specific input and claimed ”two to three trapped terrorists will be neutralised.” Meanwhile, adequate forces have been deployed in the upper reaches of Kishtwar to watch out for any terrorist movement from across the Pir Panjal Range, a senior police officer said on Saturday.
”For the last three days, adequate personnel of police and army are deployed in the higher reaches of Singhpora and we are dominating the area,” Kishtwar Senior Superintendent of Police Khalil Poswal said.
Singhpora connects Kishtwar with Kokernag but the road between the two sides of the Pir Panjal usually remains cut off during the winter owing to heavy snowfall at the 12,500-foot-high Sadna top. At present, a 10.3-km Vailoo-Singhpora tunnel has been under construction since 2009 to ensure round-the-year connectivity.
The SSP said police and army are working in close coordination to tackle any situation. ”If there is any movement (of terrorists from the Kokernag side), we are active on that front,” he said.
Commanding Officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Ashish Dhonchak, Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat and a soldier were killed by the terrorists on Wednesday.