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J&K: 7 militants killed during infiltration bid
Mukhtar Ahmad and Onkar Singh in Srinagar and New Delhi |
July 14, 2005 22:39 IST
The army on Thursday evening claimed to have eliminated seven militants in an over 36-hour-long gun battle along the Line of Control in Kashmir's Gurez sector.
An army spokesman on Thursday evening confirmed the recovery of seven bodies and dispelled wild media speculation that 35 militants had been killed in the Gurez encounter.
"I don't know from where they got these reports about the number of the intruders. This is all speculation. This is a very difficult area, snow bound and highly inhospitable and our troopers still managed to intercept them and engage them in a gun battle," the spokesman said.
Speaking to rediff.com, Chief of Army Staff Gen J J Singh said the encounter with the terrorists was going on for the third consecutive day.
"We have already accounted for seven bodies of the infiltrators and we are looking for more. Our boys have done a wonderful job at a height of 15,000 ft at a place called Kabuli Gali," he added.
"According to information available with us, we still have to account for 10 more terrorists," he said.
"This was the fourteenth infiltration attempt, which the army successfully intercepted since April and the Gurez infiltration is part of a larger plan from across the LoC," a press statement issued by the army in Srinagar said. "We have so far killed 52 militants since April on the LoC," the statement continued.
"The terrorists in the Gurez infiltration attempt, despite high altitude and inhospitable terrain, were spotted by the troops of 20 Punjab near Kabuli Gali," the statement said.
The statement continued, "Glacier, high altitude and incessant rains made the operations slow. The terrorists in a life-saving bid dispersed in small groups. The troops in deliberate and sustained operations kept up the pressure on the terrorists and kept them on the run. So far, seven bodies of the terrorists have been recovered and the operation is in progress."
It may be mentioned that the entire Gurez sector along the LoC in north Kashmir remains cut off from rest of valley for over six months and the encounter site happens to be in an area whose flanks extend up to the Drass sector in Kargil.