They crossed LoC during interchange of battalions

Even as the deadly attack near Jammu, which claimed a dozen lives got over on Thursday with the gunning down of the three terrorists, there are reports of ongoing, intermittent firing between the Army and infiltrators in the Kupwara sector.

Army sources said intermittent firing was still going on in the Keran and Machil sectors. An unusually large group of 30-40 infiltrators had tried to cross the Line of Control on the intervening night of September 24/25, the time when the process of changeover of battalions was under way.

“It is rather surprising and unusual that infiltrators appeared to have knowledge of the interchange of battalions and they made their attempt to sneak in at that time,” the sources said. Five soldiers were killed in a similar strike by infiltrators, aided by Pakistani Army units, when an interchange of Army units was taking place last month in Poonch.

Now, the sources said, the intermittent exchange of fire made it difficult for the forces to retrieve the bodies of the slain terrorists from the LoC.

They said Pakistani Army units in the neighbouring sectors provided fire cover to the infiltrators who came in from the Bugina, Neelam, Kalaghat and Kel sectors of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). About a dozen infiltrators were getting replenished with supplies of food and ammunition from the Pakistani side, the sources added.

The sources said terrorists were getting “bolder” as they were much better trained and motivated to form “suicide squads” and attack security forces after crossing over. “Infiltration bids are becoming more frequent as terrorists realise that it is their last effort to make it before snowfall begins in November.”

From January till August this year, 210 infiltrators had tried to sneak in from across the border; of them 80 could make it and 27 were killed by the security forces.

Trends over the past three years also show that infiltrators were using the Northern Pir Panjal range in Kupwara and Uri to sneak in, the sources said.