Four soldiers were martyred and three injured when heavily armed terrorists ambushed two Army vehicles in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The vehicles, carrying the personnel to the site of a cordon-and-search operation, came under attack at a blind curve at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz under the jurisdiction of Surankote police station.
The security forces are conducting a search operation in the forest area of Dera ki Gali where the attack took place. Former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir — Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti — strongly condemned the attack.
The People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), has claimed responsibility for the deadly ambush.
In a post on X, the White Knight Corps of the Indian Army said: “#IndianArmy and #Whiteknight Corps salutes the bravery and supreme sacrifice of four soldiers in #Surankote on 21 Dec 23 while fighting the scourge of terrorism @adgpi.”
Jammu-based defence PRO Lieutenant Colonel Suneel Bartwal said that a joint search operation was launched in the general area of Dera Ki Gali in the Thanamandi-Surankote region of Rajouri on Wednesday night based on “hard intelligence” about the presence of terrorists. As additional forces were moving to the site, the ultras fired upon the Army vehicles — a truck and a Maruti Gypsy. A defence spokesperson said the troops swiftly responded to the attack.
Officials said that four soldiers were killed and three were injured in the encounter and the injured have been admitted to a hospital. The counter-terrorism operation is still underway.
Disturbing images and videos emerged from the site showing blood on the street, broken helmets of soldiers and shattered windscreens of the two Army vehicles, the agency added.
The officials have not ruled out the possibility of hand-to-hand combat between the soldiers and the terrorists during the intense confrontation.