At least 12 militants and an Army officer were killed in one of the fierce gun battles on the Line of Control in north Kashmir's Bandipore district.

Terming it the biggest success of 2011, Srinagar-based defence spokesman Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said it was the eighth infiltration attempt from across the LoC and largest of the year so far.

“Today [Saturday] morning at 1 a.m., our alert troops on the Line of Control near Bagtor village in Gurez Sector of Bandipora district in north Kashmir intercepted a group of terrorists trying to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. They were trying to cross the Kishanganga in a pneumatic boat. The river, at many places, is the de facto Line of Control.”

“This is certainly a new development. The terrorists were also carrying an inflatable five-man dinghy. They were intercepted and a heavy exchange of gunfire ensued. When they tried to come ashore, six of them were killed and they fell into the river. Six more were killed near the shore. Five AK rifles, one pistol, two boats, 50 assorted grenades, two radio sets, two compasses and one Global Positioning System were recovered till reports last came in,” Col. Brar said.

In the gun battle, a Lieutenant was killed. The spokesman said, “In this operation, we lost a gallant officer, Lieutenant Navdeep Singh, besides injury to two of our jawans. A lively 26-year-old officer, Navdeep Singh was commissioned in March this year into the Army Ordnance Corps and was serving in 15th Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry. The operation is still on to comb the neighbouring dense forests in the area,” he said.