J&K: Three Army jawans killed in encounter with terrorists

Three Army jawans killed i

Rajouri: Five Army jawans were martyred and three others were injured in a fierce encounter with terrorists in the Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (21 December). The terrorists had ambushed two army vehicles in the Thanamandi area, triggering a blast and opening fire. The Indian Army soldiers retaliated and engaged the terrorists in a gunfight.

According to an Army officer, the jawans were part of a joint operation that was launched on Wednesday evening to flush out the terrorists hiding in the Kandi forest of the 48 Rashtriya Rifles area. The terrorists are suspected of being involved in the Poonch terror attack last month, in which five Army jawans were killed by sticky bombs and steel bullets.

The encounter site is a thickly vegetated area with rocky and cliffs, making the operation challenging. The Army has cordoned off the area and deployed drones, metal detectors, and sniffer dogs to track down the terrorists. There is a likelihood of casualties in the terrorist group as well.

The Rajouri sector has witnessed a surge in terrorist activities in recent months. On 1 January 2023, four civilians of a Hindu community were killed and six others were injured when two unidentified gunmen entered their houses and checked their Aadhaar cards before firing at them. The next day, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near the same attack site, killing two children and injuring five others.

Three Army jawans killed i

The regional political parties of Jammu and Kashmir have blamed the Centre’s policies and the security lapses of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration for the Rajouri terror attacks. The BJP has accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in the region. The Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has condemned the killings of innocent civilians in Rajouri. The Resistance Front (TRF), a Kashmiri separatist militant group, that India claims is a front of Lashkar-e-Taiba, has denied any involvement in the attacks.