Five soldiers were killed and another injured in a major militant attack in the Pir Panjal valley’s Poonch district in the Jammu province on Thursday.
Militants opened fire and launched grenades at an Army vehicle around 3 p.m. during a patrol. “Five personnel of the Rashtriya Rifles Unit deployed for counter terrorist operations in this area have unfortunately lost their lives in the incident,” a Jammu-based Army spokesman said.
One Army vehicle, moving between Bhimber Gali and Poonch in the Rajauri Sector, was fired on by unidentified terrorists, taking advantage of heavy rains and low visibility in the area, the Army said. “The vehicle caught fire, due to likely use of grenades by terrorists,” the Army added.
Eyewitnesses said the vehicle was on fire from all sides and gutted completely in the attack. A seriously injured soldier has been evacuated to the Army Hospital at Rajouri. “The jawan is under treatment,” the Army said.
A major anti-militancy operation has been launched in the area, which has thick forests around. “Operations are in progress to locate the perpetrators,” the Army said.
Meanwhile, traffic has been suspended from Bhimber Gali to Surankote. “All the commuters are advised to adopt the alternative routes,” an official said.
Army Chief General Manoj Pande briefed Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh about the attack in New Delhi, officials said. “Anguished by the tragedy in Poonch District (J&K), where the Indian Army has lost its brave soldiers after a truck caught fire. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the bereaved families,” Mr. Singh said, in a tweet.
J&K Lieutenant Govenor Manoj Sinha said he was deeply anguished by the loss of lives. “Their rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” the L-G said.