March 25, 2009 3:28:33 pm
With the combing operation in the forests of Kupwara is still going on,Army claims that all the slain militants were foreigners owing allegiance to Lashkar e Toiba. So far,seventeen militants and eight soldiers have been killed in the operation.
Brigade General Staff 15 Corps,Brigadier Gurmeet Singh said the operation is going on in the thick forests of Kupwara in the difficult mountainous terrain. The militants were primarily an infiltration group attempting to infiltrate and a reception party, he said. The slain militants were foreigners owing their allegiance to Lashkar e Toiba.
Singh said that the majority of the militants have been killed. Remnants if any,will also be eliminated.
The senior army commander said that the militants killed in the encounter were highly trained,well equipped. We have received latest weapons,communication system and maps from the slain militants, he said adding that the items recovered from the slain militants are being used by the state.
Brigadier Singh termed it as a first major infiltration attempt and said that more militants from across the Line of Control are waiting to sneak into the Valley. As per intelligence reports 300 to 400 militants are awaiting on other side of the Line of Control to sneak into the Valley. We are prepared to tackle any infiltration attempt, he said.
Singh said this is the time when militants try to infiltrate into the Valley as not only border fencing is buried under the snow also the snow starts to melt. Besides,huge quantity of war like ammunition,army has so far recovered 23 AK rifles from the encounter site.
The Pakistan based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has claimed responsibility for the Kupwara encounter in which eight soldiers including an Army major was killed. Seventeen militants were also killed in the five day long encounter in the dense forests of Shamasbari range in Kupwara that began on March 20.
A spokesman of Lashkar Abdullah Ghaznavi told local newspapers in Srinagar over phone that militants of the outfit will carry more attacks on the Indian troops in coming days.
Giving details about the Kupwara encounter the LeT spokesman said that Army had launched a combing operation in Chokibal Kupwara on March 20 and the militants of the outfit ambushed them in the forests.
LeT had already received information about the troops movement in the forests and it laid an ambush. In the five day long encounter 25 soldiers were killed and 50 soldiers were also injured, the spokesman claimed. The Lashker also lost its ten men.
The Indian army rebuffed these figures and said that eight soldiers and 17 terrorists have been gunned down during the encounter.
The spokesman of the LeT said that operation should serve an eye opener for New Delhi. “The gunbattles should serve as a message to India that struggle for Kashmir’s freedom is not over but it is on with full vigour,” Abdullah Ghaznavi said.
This is the first major militant attack of LeT in Kashmir after the group was blamed for the deadly attacks in Mumbai late last year that brought India and Pakistan on the brink of war. The LeT has vehemently denied any role in the Mumbai attacks.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.