5 soldiers killed in ‘terrorist ambush’ at Poonch: Army

Indian Army soldier takes position along LoC in J&K
File Photo

JAMMU — Five soldiers were killed in first of its kind ‘ambush’ on a moving military vehicle by militants in Jammu region’s Poonch district on Thursday, while a massive hunt has been launched in the area to nab the attackers, Defence sources said.

They told the news agency KNO, around 3:00 PM, suspected militants laid an ambush and targeted a moving military truck, which was moving from Bhimber Gali to Sangiot, around 90 kilometers away from the district headquarters Poonch.

Sources said that militants managed to stop the truck by throwing grenades while another opened calibrated fire towards its fuel tank, triggering a massive blaze in the vehicle.

A Defence source said that another group of militants also opened fire at onboard soldiers with the intention to wound them so that they were not able to move out of the vehicle.

“One army vehicle, moving between Bhimber Gali and Poonch in the Rajouri sector was fired on by unidentified terrorists, taking advantage of heavy rains and low visibility in the area,” army’s Northern Command said in a statement, adding, “Five personnel of the Rashtriya Rifles Unit deployed for Counter Terrorist operations, in this area, have unfortunately lost their lives in the incident.”

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It further said that another solider is seriously injured and was evacuated immediately to the army hospital at Rajouri and is under treatment.

The army’s statement further added that operations are in progress to locate the perpetrators. “Further details are being ascertained.”

Meanwhile, Defence experts said that the militants laid down the trap in a planned manner, leaving very little scope of reaction time for the trained Rashtriya Rifles, who were traveling in the truck. They added that the modus operandi of attack is also new to Jammu and Kashmir and it was earlier seen in North East, where terror groups target army and paramilitary conveys on isolated roads.

The attack came at a time when the Jammu and Kashmir Government has been preparing for hosting maiden G20 meetings in Srinagar. Union Home Minister Amit Shah took a detailed security review earlier this week and issued directions to security agencies to work in a coordinated manner for the success of the event.

Moreover, the Army Commanders’ Conference (ACC) is going on in New Delhi to deliberate on the country’s internal and external security.

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Yesterday (April 19) while addressing Army Commanders, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented the army for its synergized operations in the Union Territory. The Minister claimed that synergy between the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), police forces and the army in tackling the menace of terrorism led towards stability and peace in the region. The Defence minister also commended the Army for the high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed condolence with brave hearts.

“Anguished by the tragedy in Poonch District (J&K), where the Indian Army has lost its brave soldiers after a truck caught fire. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the bereaved families,” the Defence minister tweeted.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha also expressed anguish over the loss of lives. “I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives of brave Army personnel in a tragic incident at Poonch. Their rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” LG Sinha tweeted.

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