Four soldiers killed as militants ambush army vehicle in Rajouri

JAMMU — In a devastating attack, militants targeted an army vehicle in the Thanamandi area of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the loss of four soldiers’ lives and leaving three others injured on Thursday.

According to officials quoted by the news agency KNO, the militants aimed their assault at two army vehicles, including a gypsy and a 1-ton vehicle. These vehicles were en route to fortify the cordon in the neighbouring Surankote area of Poonch, where an anti-militancy operation was ongoing after a mysterious explosion near the Armed Police Headquarters the previous night.

A spokesperson from the Jammu-based defence unit disclosed that an ongoing operation was being conducted in the general area of DKG (Dera Ki Gali), Thanamandi, Rajouri, since the previous night.

“Around 4:00 pm, two army vehicles carrying troops were moving to the operational site, which was fired upon by the terrorist. The fire was immediately retaliated upon by their own troops. Three soldiers lost their lives in the operation while three suffered injuries and evacuated to the nearest medical care,” the spokesperson said, adding, “Operations are in progress. Further details are being ascertained.” However, a senior army official said that the attack resulted in the deaths of four soldiers.

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This assault occurred in the same region where previously, five soldiers of the army lost their lives in an attack in the Dara Ki Gali (DKG) area of Surankote in Poonch. This operation lasted for over a month, during which nine army personnel lost their lives while engaging in action, while one militant was neutralized after months of confrontation.

Prior to this incident, joint security forces launched a significant anti-militancy operation in the upper reaches of Poonch district upon suspecting the movement of a militant group in the area. Key officials from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, including SSP Poonch Vinay Sharma, and army personnel rushed to the location.

A senior army official highlighted that a group of militants had been sighted in the Topa Pir area of Poonch district, prompting the immediate cordoning off of the area and intensified search operations.

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Security agencies alarm that “Pakistan has been closely monitoring the Poonch district to fuel terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir”. More than a dozen incidents of foiled narcotics smuggling attempts have been recorded in this area, leading to the seizure of 87 kilograms of heroin, with an international market value exceeding Rs 400 crores.

It is pertinent to mention here that on the previous day around 9:30 pm, a low-intensity explosion occurred within the Armed Police company base, resulting in damage to a few vehicles parked on the premises.

Official sources confirmed that four vehicles sustained minor to moderate damages, with the windows of these vehicles shattered. Moreover, the exact nature of this explosion remains unclear, but official quarters suspect it to be a grenade explosion.

Earlier, on November 15, a suspected grenade explosion rocked the premises of a temple in Surankote town, leaving visible splinter marks on the temple walls and stairs.


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