Security forces on Tuesday extended the search operation to adjoining villages to track down a terrorist who managed to escape from a remote village in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district, officials said.
While one terrorist was killed and two security personnel injured in the initial gunfight at Gali Sohab village in Tuli area on Monday, the second terrorist slipped out from the cordoned house located on a slope, taking advantage of rough terrain, the officials said.
They said the security forces stormed the house early on Tuesday morning amid intense firing but there was no trace of the second terrorist who was believed to be hiding inside.
However, the search parties comprising the police, Army and CRPF retrieved the body of the slain terrorist and also recovered an AK assault rifle, two magazines, a rucksack, a pocket diary and some medicines and eatables.
The officials said reinforcements were rushed to the area and nearly half-a-dozen adjoining villages in the forested area were sealed and a search operation is underway to neutralize the fleeing terrorist.
Jammu-based defence PRO Lt Col Suneel Bartwal said the Army along with police has been continuing relentless operations in the forest areas of Reasi district to scuttle nefarious designs of the terrorists.
”A joint operation was launched based on specific information about the presence of two armed terrorists. The dynamic counter terrorist grid was established with extensive deployment in the area of responsibility,” he said in a statement in Jammu.
The defence PRO said the terrorists trapped inside the cordoned house opened fire on the security personnel deployed outside and in the ensuing heavy gunfight, one terrorist was neutralized.
”A detailed search of the house and the surrounding areas after the encounter resulted in the recovery of one terrorist's body along with other warlike stores. Search operation is in progress,” Lt Col Bartwal said.
He said the Army successfully demolished an improvised explosive device (IED) in the same region on September 3.
”A major incident has been averted in the region by these two consecutive actions by security forces. The presence of these heavily armed terrorists in the hinterland indicates sustained attempts by inimical forces to destabilize the South of Pir Panjal region,” the defence PRO said.
The officials said the encounter in the village broke out around 2 pm on Monday when the joint troops zeroed in on the house where the terrorists had taken shelter at gunpoint during the intervening night of Sunday and Monday.
After getting information about the presence of the terrorists, security forces after trekking for over four hours reached the village and cornered the terrorists who opened indiscriminate firing in a vain bid to escape the security dragnet, the officials said.
The officials said the slain terrorist is believed to be a part of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) module operating in Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi districts. Two members of the same group were eliminated in Khawas area of Rajouri on August 5.
While the body of one terrorist was recovered from the scene of the encounter the same day, another body of a terrorist who had jumped into a river was retrieved from a village in Reasi district on August 18.
The border district of Poonch along with nearby Rajouri has witnessed several encounters this year, resulting in the killing of around 20 terrorists and 10 security personnel.
Most of the terrorists were killed while attempting to sneak into this side from across the border, the officials said.