One soldier sustained bullet injuries, four others were in bus that rammed a tree

Five soldiers were injured when suspected militants ambushed an Army convoy at Drugmulla, 90 km from here, on the Kupwara-Srinagar Road on Saturday. Official sources said the militants opened fire at the convoy at Dhobi Mohalla, minutes after it had left a transit camp at Drugmulla for Handwara. One soldier sustained gunshot injuries and four others were injured as one of the targeted buses skidded off the road and rammed into a tree, with the driver losing control of the vehicle. The militants, however, fled following an effective response from the quick reaction team.

Residents told The Hindu over telephone that four “Kashmiri-looking militants” fired bursts of AK-47 gunfire before vanishing into a forest. Police and Army personnel carried out a search operation at Drugmulla, Chayelpati, Dogermohalla and Waterkhani villages. However, they could not get any clue to the identity or whereabouts of the militants.Two bags, containing eatables and clothes, were seized along with a rifle grenade, which was neutralised by a bomb squad.

Inspector General of Police Abdul Gani Mir said: “The militants have escaped. But we are very much on the job.” He told The Hindu that the militants were on the run. He said 130-150 militants were currently active in the Kashmir Valley. “There could be also some sleeper cells.”

Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen spokesperson Baleeg-ud-din told some local news agencies on the phone that militants of his organisation attacked the convoy. Later, another caller, Sami-ul-Haq, claimed that his ‘Al-Shuhada Brigade’ had launched the attack. While threatening that such attacks would continue, he claimed that cadres of his outfit had confronted a constable and snatched away his gun in Anantnag on Friday.