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J&K: Colonel, 3 jawans killed in encounter

August 22, 2008 15:19 IST
Last Updated: August 23, 2008 16:47 IST


The commander of a Rastriya Rifles battalion was killed on Friday along with three other army men in a fierce encounter with suspected foreign militants in Macchal sector of northern Kashmir in which four terrorists were shot dead.

Col J J Joseph, commanding officer of the 45 Rastriya Rifles, was killed while leading the operations against a big group of foreign militants in the dense forests of Macchal sector in Kupwara district, amidst reports of escalation in militant related incidents in the state.

Joseph, in spite of the injury, directed his troops, but was later evacuated to Base Hospital in Srinagar [Images] where he succumbed to his injuries. Three other troopers were killed in the operation launched following specific inputs about a large group of terrorists hiding in the forest.

Four militants were also killed in the encounter.

"The encounter is still going on and the pattern of fire indicates that these could be foreign militants," Army sources said.
Even as this encounter was in progress, army troops were locked in another gunfight with a different group of militants just three to four km away.

Another senior officer, who was injured, has been admitted to Base Hospital in Srinagar for treatment.

Joseph is the highest ranking army official to have been killed in counter-insurgency operations in the last one year. Earlier, another colonel from Maratha Light Infantry was killed while leading his men in busting a militant hideout in Baramulla sector in the state.

The Rastriya Rifles laid a cordon of the jungle area and commenced operations early this morning. This is the first major encounter with terrorists in the hinterland, and comes as reports suggest a steep increase in infiltration attempts by militants and LOC violations by the Pakistani troops.




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