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Kathua gun battle enters fifth day

September 06, 2003 16:05 IST

The fierce gun battle between security forces and seven militants holed up in the Ghati area of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir entered the fifth day on Saturday with no signs of an immediate end.

Security forces have begun closing in towards the area from where the militants had been firing continuously, official sources said.

Army officials maintained that the strategy of  "wearing out" the terrorists was "deliberate" to avoid unnecessary casualties.

"Time is not at a premium," a defence spokesman said pointing out at that the "required action is being taken to trap and eliminate all terrorists."

On Friday evening, security forces carried out helicopter sorties in the area to identify the exact location of the ultras who are believed to have made make-shift hideouts behind big rocks and beneath dense bushes.

A chopper made at least three sorties in the area to prepare a graphic picture of the topography and the terrorists' location which would help in shaping the stratedy to flush out the ultras, official sources said.

Earlier, the terrorists stopped firing for a brief period in the morning but resumed at around noon, the sources said.

Even as security forces were engaged in in Kathua, another encounter broke out in Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday in which two militants were killed.

At least one militant was still engaging the troops in an exchange of fire in Galota area in Mendhar near the Line of Control, defence sources said.


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