SUNJWAN TERROR ATTACK: Army launches clearing operation; Toll rises to six, 3 terrorists gunned down

NIA team visits Army camp; Pregnant woman, injured in army camp attack, delivers baby girl; Locals provide meals to security forces


JAMMU, Feb 11: A day after the pre-dawn audacious terror strike at the military camp here, the Army today said it has found the bodies of three of its personnel and a civilian, taking the toll to six, and gunned down three suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists.
Five Army men, including two junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and the father of a soldier have been killed in the attack by the terrorists who struck at the sprawling camp of the 36 Brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) yesterday, an Army spokesperson said.
Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand while talking to JOURNEY LINE said that the operation against the terrorists was still on.
In a statement, Lt Col Anand said three heavily-armed terrorists have been killed.
While two were gunned down yesterday, the body a third terrorist was found today, he said, adding they were in combat gear.
He said that AK-56 rifles, an under barrel grenade Launcher, ammunition and grenades were from them. The spokesperson also said, "There has been no firing since last night."
Launching a "clearing" operation, the Army tonight fired mortar shells at the vacated residential quarters of the Sunjuwan military camp, setting them ablaze.
Earlier, Army spokesperson said the Army found the bodies of three of its personnel and a civilian, taking the toll to six in the attack, and gunned down three terrorists.
On the clearing operation launched tonight, he said there was no exchange of fire.
"The Army has launched a fire assault as a part of a sanatisation and clearing operation. There was no exchange of fire," the Jammu-based Army PRO said.
A police official said, "Fresh gunfire took place and mortar shells were launched at the quarters vacated by the Army. It resulted in eruption of fire at the quarters."
In a statement, he said three heavily armed terrorists were killed in the operation.
While two were gunned down yesterday, the body a third terrorist was found today, he said, adding they were in combat gear.
The Army spokesperson said that AK-56 rifles, an under barrel grenade launcher, ammunition and grenades were from them.
Giving details, Lt Col Anand said, "So far, six fatal causalities have occurred. They include two JCOs, three jawans and one civilian dependent, all residents of Jammu and Kashmir."
Ten people, including Major Avijit Singh, have been injured of which six are women and children, he said.
One of the injured women was pregnant and she later delivered a baby girl through a caesarean operation, he said, adding both the mother and child were stable.
A 14-year-old boy had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was in a critical condition, the spokesperson said.
Those killed were identified as Subedar Madan Lal Choudhary, Subdebar Mohmmad Ashraf Mir, Havaldar Habib-Ullah Qurashi, Naik Manzoor Ahmed, Lance Naik Mohmmad Iqbal -- all from the JAKLI, besides the father of Lance Naik Mohmmad Iqbal, he said.
The officer said that a search operation of the family quarters in the Army complex for evacuation of people and to ascertain the situation was underway.
A number of families were still in the camp and the Army's aim was to ensure their safety, he said.
Vaid said that investigation is on to find out where from the terrorists came.
"Whether they infiltrated from Pakistan or came from Kashmir is being investigated," the DGP said.
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team today visited the camp and examined the evidence collected by the Army from the site of the gun battle, an official said.
The latest attack on the camp took place nearly 15 months after the Jammu region was hit by a similar attack.
Yesterday, the terrorists had struck before dawn and managed to sneak into the camp from the rear end of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry guarding the periphery.
"The terrorists entered the family accommodation complex after which quick response teams cordoned off the area and isolated the terrorists, who were holed up in a few houses (inside the camp)," an official said.
While there was no action around the main entrance and vehicles were moving along the Jammu-Lakhanpur bypass in front of the camp, Army personnel in bullet-proof vehicles were engaged in the operation to rescue people from the family quarters in the rear side of the base.
Contingents of CRPF and police were posted outside the boundary wall and were keeping curious onlookers at bay to prevent civilian casualties.
A high alert has been sounded in Jammu and security beefed up in and around the city.
Intelligence inputs had warned of an attack on an Army or security establishment by the Pakistan-based JeM in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, who was hanged on February 9, 2013, for the 2001 attack on Parliament House.
As the operation to flush out JeM terrorists who stormed an Army camp here entered the second day, local residents have been frequenting the area to serve meals and snacks to police and paramilitary personnel camped there.
The residents pooled their resources and have been serving meals, tea, snacks and water to hundreds of people, mostly police and paramilitary personnel and scribes, camping outside the main gate of the sprawling military station since yesterday.
"It's a small effort on our part... We want to contribute to the nation and decided to provide tea and snacks to the security forces deployed outside and to the mediapersons," Sanjeev Manmotra, who is leading the initiative.
He said their effort was also aimed at sending a message to the misguided youth in the Kashmir Valley who target security forces with stones during anti-terrorist operations.
Two Army personnel, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), were killed and nine others injured when the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists stormed the camp early yesterday.
"They (security forces) are sacrificing their lives to ensure our safety and it is our responsibility to do whatever possible to help them especially during such a situation," Manmotra, state president of Bharat Tibet Sahyog Manch, said.
However, another volunteer, Prakash Singh Jamwal, said the forum had nothing to do with the initiative. "We have come together and are spending from our own pockets," he said.
Jamwal said the Army was battling it out with the terrorists and "as nationalists, we want to contribute. Since we cannot fight the terrorists, we took this initiative."
BJP and Bajrang Dal activists had visited the area yesterday and staged "anti-Pakistan" demonstrations to condemn the attack and express solidarity with the security forces.
The activists also raised pro-Army and pro-India slogans.
Earlier, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team today visited the Sunjwan Army camp attacked by a group of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists and examined the evidence collected by the Army from the site of the gun battle, an official said.
Though a case has not been registered yet, the NIA team inspected the encounter site inside the camp and examined the evidence collected by the Army, the official said, on condition of anonymity.
The NIA is mandated to probe all terror-related cases in the country as per an act of Parliament.
NIA is already investigating the November 2016 Nagrota attack case in which seven Army personnel, including two officers, and three terrorists were killed.
It has already submitted a chargesheet in the Pathankot air base attack case in which it had named JeM founder Masood Azhar as an accused.
It is worthwile to mention that a pregnant woman, who was injured in an attack by armed terrorists on the family quarters at the Sunjuwan military camp here, delivered a baby girl in the hospital today.
Rifleman Nazir Ahmed and his pregnant wife were injured in the firing by the terrorists and were shifted to the Military Hospital at Satwari here, an army official said.
"The army doctors worked all night to save the life of the severely injured pregnant woman with gunshots wounds and helped her deliver a baby girl, following a caesarean section operation," Lt Col Anand said.
"Both the mother and the baby are stable," he added.
Lt Col Anand said the condition of a 14-year-old boy, who was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound in his head, however remained critical.

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