Security forces, led by the Army, continued the search and combing operation of Gadool hill in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district for the sixth day on Monday, as official sources suggested no reports of militant fire was reported during the day.
Officials said the security forces have started closing in on the suspected spots, including the cave-like hideout, on the slopes of Gadool hill in Anantnag’s Kokernag area. The suspected cave-like hideout was destroyed in the past four days with mortars and rocket fire.
Official sources said the combing operation is “deliberately slow” to avoid any improvised explosive devices set up by the militants in the area, as done on several occasions in the past. The Army has also pressed sniffer dogs for early detection of explosives in the area.
Official sources said the rains in the past two days also slowed down the operation in the area. Steep slopes, tough terrain and dense jungles were also used by the hiding militants to their advantage since the gunfight started on Wednesday.
According to the police, two to three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, including a local, were holed up in the area.
Three officers, two from the Army and one from the police, were killed on Wednesday afternoon after the hiding militants opened indiscriminate fire in Gadool hill during a search operation. The Army has confirmed injuries to two other soldiers during the evacuation of the bodies.
Both the Army and the police maintained silence over the progress of the encounter on Monday. They have not confirmed any casualties to the militants. One charred was reportedly spotted at the cave. However, security forces did not officially divulge any details about it.
It’s the first time after many years that the Kashmir valley witnessed such a long anti-militancy operation. The Army for the first time used high-tech surveillance gadgets and precision fire and mortars to flush out the militants from the forest area.