Major terror strike averted, army to conduct searches (Second Lead)

May 13th, 2008 - 12:09 am ICT by admin  

Samba (Jammu and Kashmir), May 12 (IANS) The Indian Army plans a massive operation to weed out infiltrators from areas along the India-Pakistan border after foiling a major terror strike in Samba in Jammu and Kashmir Monday, a day after a gun battle between the security forces and militants left six killed. One militant who had attacked the Samba garrison, 45 km from Jammu, Monday morning was killed in a gun fight with the troops. The militant was believed to be part of the group that had managed to sneak into the Indian side last Thursday and killed six people, including two soldiers and a photojournalist, in a gun battle here Sunday.

The militant’s body was recovered and the army found one AK-47 rifle, eight rifle grenades, 270 rounds of AK-47 rifle ammunition and 10 magazines of the automatic assault rifle, one under barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) - all sufficient to kill dozens of people.

Lt. Col. S.D. Goswami, defence spokesperson based in Jammu, said the two terrorists killed in Sunday’s gun battle and one more shot down Monday had the task of carrying out a massacre, the spokesman said.

The army said the intrusion of the militants Thursday, their subsequent attempts to reach the Jammu-Pathankote highway and Monday’s attack pointed towards their design to execute a massacre on the lines of the 2002 Kaluchak incident in which terrorists had killed more than three dozen people, mostly the family members of soldiers.

“This nefarious design has been effectively foiled,” Goswami said.

“The meticulous and well-planned operation, conducted under the overall supervision of Lt. Gen. Vinay Sharma, general officer commanding of the Rising Star Corps, was not only able to save the lives of civilian hostages held by the terrorist group but also managed to avoid collateral damage to civilian property in the heavily populated civil built-up area,” he said.

The next step, according to army sources, is to conduct mopping-up operations along the entire border belt in the Samba sector to find out if there were more infiltrators than the three already killed in the two operations.

“The idea is to look for tell-tale signs of the movement of the militants in the area,” a senior army officer said, requesting anonymity.

“A fresh alert has been sounded for the troops guarding the LoC (Line of Control) as militants might attempt to cross over from other areas as well,” he said.

The Northern Command of the army that guards the LoC in Kashmir has asked its units for greater vigil, the army source said.

Instructions have also been issued for greater vigil against terrorist attacks in crowded areas, army camps and key installations, the official said.

During a fierce encounter in the Kali Mandir area near Samba Sunday evening, the security forces shot dead two holed-up militants who had killed six people, including a woman and a photo-journalist. Eleven others were injured in the gun battle.

The Border Security Force (BSF) said it had foiled a major infiltration bid by militants from Pakistan across the LoC May 8.

“A group of about 15 militants tried to infiltrate into the Indian side from Glarh border sector,” a BSF official said.

That area is about 15 km from the place where the gun battle took place Sunday. Security forces said some militants might have sneaked into India.

Jammu Monday observed a shutdown called by several political parties to mourn the death of those killed in the Sunday gun battle.

“The shutdown is being observed mainly to mourn the death of innocent people, including a photo journalist, and express our solidarity with their families,” said a social activist.

The bodies of the two soldiers, Atul and Aziz Mohammad, who were killed in the gun fight with militants Sunday, were sent to their native places.

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