The encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district has entered its fourth day with terrorists holed up in a cave on the top of a hill. The security personnel are caught between forests and a hill on one side and a deep ditch on the other, sources have said.
The gunfight began during a joint operation of the Army and the police Tuesday night to hunt down the terrorists hiding in the Gadul forest of Kokernag. A soldier went missing and three officers killed in action when they tried to approach the Lashkar terrorists’ hideout atop a hill.
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The terrorists – who are well versed with the local terrain — are holed up in a cave on the top of a hill that can be accessed only by a narrow route with a deep ditch on one side, highly placed sources have told NDTV. It was this route that the officers had used to approach the cave on Wednesday, but came under firing with nowhere to take cover.
The standoff continues since with the forces having surrounded the hill. They are using rocket launders and dropping explosives using drones bought from Israel, but the challenging terrain didn’t allow Army domination yet, said sources.
The terrorists, who are well-trained with no shortage of food and ammunition, are likely to be more than the two-three that was being cited, according to the sources.
Three officers, including two from the Army and a policeman, were killed in action on Wednesday.
Colonel Manpreet Singh, Sena Medal (Gallantry), was the Commanding Officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles Unit (19 RR) and Major Aashish Dhonchak, Sena Medal (Gallantry), was the company commander of 19 RR. Himanyun Muzamil Bhat was a Deputy Superintendent (DySP) in the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Colonel Singh’s body reached his Punjab hometown yesterday with a huge crowd attending his funeral to pay their last respects to the hero.