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Holed up terrorists from Jaish-e-Mohammed, says Army
January 07, 2009 15:30 IST
Last Updated: January 07, 2009 18:20 IST
Army personnel were carrying out a 'deliberate operation' to wear out the holed-up terrorists to avoid casualties in security forces, as their encounter in the dense forests in Poonch raged for the seventh day in one of the longest battles in the border state in years.
The Army said the eight to ten terrorists holed up in the Bhati Dhar jungles in Jammu region were suspected to be from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit.
Defence Minister A K Antony, its chief General Deepak Kapoor and senior officers in Jammu underpinned a strategy to quickly end the encounter, which was marked by a heavy exchange of gunfire, but acknowledged that it was taking time due to the difficult terrain and to avoid casualties among security personnel.
"We want to flush out the militants but we want to ensure that there are no casualties," Antony said in New Delhi [Images].
Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor told reporters, "We are carrying out the operation to ensure maximum attrition on the terrorists to ensure that we do not suffer any casualties... the area is very rocky and filled with natural caves. That is why it (the operation) is taking time."
Asked about a time-frame to flush out the terrorists from their fortified cave hideouts, General Kapoor said the army was trying to finish off the operation as soon as possible.
The holed-up terrorists, who have been exchanging fire with the security forces for the last one week, seem to be
Strongly denying reports that there were 1,500 troops deployed in the operation, the Brigadier said that there were
The Army also said it suspected the terrorists to be still holed up in the forests as small arms fire had been on since this morning from different spots in the operational area."There are terrorists holed up there. We know it from the gun shots yesterday and today. It would not be right to guess their number at this point," Singh said.
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