JAMMU — A soldier of the Indian Air Force was killed while four others were injured after a group of militants attacked their convoy in Shah Sattar area of Poonch district on Saturday, officials said.

Officials told the news agency KNO that the attack took place in Shah Sattar forest area, which is densely covered with trees and falls between Surankote’s Sanai Top and Mendhar’s Gursai area of Poonch district.

The Indian Air Force confirmed the casualty of the soldier in a post on X.

“In the ensuing gunfight with terrorists, the Air Warriors fought back by returning fire. In the process, five IAF personnel received bullet injuries and were evacuated to the nearest military hospital for immediate medical attention. One Air Warrior succumbed to his injuries later. Further operations are on by the local security forces,” the IAF said.

Earlier, Jammu Jammu-based Army spokesperson confirmed the attack on two vehicles that resulted in causality and injuries.

This is the first major attack on the armed forces this year in the region which witnessed a series of attacks on the army last year. Visuals from the attack site showed at least a dozen bullet holes on the windscreen of the vehicle that came under fire.

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Sources said that the injured personnel were airlifted to the command hospital in Udhampur within half an hour of the attack while other vehicles of the convoy had been secured. They said that the condition of one of the injured personnel is critical.

Soon after the attack, the Indian Air Force in a post on X said, “An Indian Air Force vehicle convoy was attacked by militants in the Poonch district of J&K, near Shahsitar. Cordon and search operations are underway presently in the area by local military units. The convoy has been secured, and further investigation is under progress.”

Sources said a combing and search operation had been going on between Mendhar and adjoining Surankote for the past few days following reports about the movement of militants.

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Meanwhile, reinforcements of police and security forces were rushed to the area soon after the attack.

Notably, this is the second militant attack in Pir Panjal region in the last 12 days. A 40-year-old government employee was killed after unknown gunmen opened fire on him near Shahdra Sharief area of Thanamandi on April 22.

On December 21 last year, four soldiers were killed in a militant attack on the Mughal Road between Dehra Ki Gali and Bufliaz in Poonch.

In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, security forces and police have already launched cordon and search operations at a massive scale to flush out militants and their sympathisers. Poonch is part of Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency which is going to polls in the sixth phase on May 25.

Meanwhile, searches have been intensified in Kathua, Doda, Udhampur and Kishtwar areas after unknown militants killed a Village Security Guard on April 28 in Basantghar area of Udhampur district.

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