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Poonch attack: Drones, sniffer dogs, MI chopper used in massive manhunt for terrorists

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Poonch: Drones and sniffer dogs were used and a MI chopper conducted a recee of the dense forest area of Bata-Doriya in Poonch on Friday in a massive manhunt for the terrorists who killed five Indian Army personnel and injured one the day before.

An NIA team visited the ambush spot and conducted full inspection of the area and the vehicle targeted in the attack. Top police and army officers including DGP Dilbag Singh, ADGP Mukesh Singh and GoC reviewed the search operation, officials said.

The entire area of Tota-Gali-Bata Doriya, which has dense forests, has been cordoned off.

Officials said drones and sniffer dogs are being used to trace the terrorists, adding the army also conducted a recee of the area with a MI-chopper.

The five Army personnel were killed and another was seriously injured on Thursday after their vehicle caught fire following the attack. The soldiers were from a Rashtriya Rifles unit deployed for counter-terror operations.

Sources said the attack is suspected to have been carried out by a group of three to four terrorists who used some explosive, possible a sticky bomb or grenade, due to which the vehicle caught fire.

Those who executed the attack are believed to have been present in Rajouri and Poonch from more than one year and had adequate knowledge of the terrain which is quite tough, they said.

The area is a hot bed of Jammu and Kashmir Gaznavi Force (JKGF) as its ‘commander’ Rafiq Ahmed alias Rafiq Nayi, who is a resident of the area, they added.

At present, three to four terrorist groups are active in the region of Rajouri and Poonch, the sources said. The Army said the vehicle the soldiers were travelling in came under fire and it caught fire because of the likely use of grenades.

The army found bullet marks on the vehicle and the body of a jawan.

According to initial investigation, the attack was carried from both the sides.

Top army and police officials on Friday laid wreaths and paid homage to the soldiers.

Officials said a high alert has been sounded in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch amid heightened vigil along the Line of Control.

Traffic on the Bhimber Gali-Poonch road was stopped following the incident and people have been advised to go to Poonch via Mendhar, they said.

After a wreath-laying function at Rajouri, mortal remains of Lance Naik Debashish of Algum Sami village of Puri district of Odisha were airlifted to his native place for last rites.

The mortals remains of Havildar Mandeep Singh of Chankoian village of Ludhiana (Punjab), Lance Naik Kulwant Singh of Charik village of Moga district (Punjab), Sepoy Harkrishan Singh of village Talwandi of Gurdaspur district (Punjab) and Sepoy Sewak Singh of Bagha village of Bathinda district (Punjab) were being sent to their native places by road, they said.

Meanwhile, Jammu witnessed several protests by BJP, VHP, Rastriya Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, Dogra Front and Jammu Statehood organisation among others.

In a tweet, the Army said, “Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande and all ranks of

Indian Army salute the supreme sacrifice of five Indian Army bravehearts, Hav Mandeep Singh, L/Nk Debashish Baswal, L/Nk Kulwant Singh, Sep Harkrishan Singh and Sep Sewak Singh who laid down their lives in the line of duty at Poonch Sector yesterday.”

Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said he was anguished at the loss of lives of the brave soldiers.

“Their rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.


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