Kashmir: 5 soldiers killed, 5 injured as terrorists ambush army vehicles in Kathua

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu, July 8: Five soldiers, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), were killed and five others were injured when a group of terrorists ambushed two army vehicles on patrolling duty near Badnota village in Kathua district on Monday afternoon.

The attack occurred within a month after two terrorists were killed in Hiranagar encounter which also claimed the life of a CRPF soldier.

Official sources stated, “This incident occurred around 3.15 pm or so when a group of five to six terrorists, equipped with automatic weapons ambushed two army vehicles (trucks) of 22 Garhwal Rifles at Badnota village near Jenda nullah in Loi Malhar tehsil of Billawar in Kathua district.”

“Terrorists, who were already hiding in the forest cover, lobbed a grenade aiming at army vehicles and then resorted to indiscriminate firing using their automatic weapons. Army personnel immediately retaliated in equal measure, thus ensuing exchange of fire between two sides that continued for over two hours or so.”

“In the ambush, followed by intense exchange of fire between terrorists and army and SOG personnel posted at Kindli post, four army personnel died on spot while six others sustained injuries. Two of them were critically injured. Heavy reinforcement was rushed to the site of the incident, however, the terrorists managed to escape,” sources stated.

The injured soldiers were initially rushed to SDH Billawar and later shifted to a military hospital. Later in the evening, another soldier succumbed to his critical injuries.

The village, where terrorists ambushed the army vehicles, shares the boundary with Doda district, where recently three terrorists were killed.

While the army did not issue any official statement about the incident till late evening, police shared a confirmatory note, which said, “Reportedly, an exchange of fire between terrorists and security forces in the Machedi area of Kathua district. Two Army personnel were injured. Massive search operation has been launched.”

Later, police issued another appeal to the media, saying, “We respectfully request our media partners to refrain from circulating photographs of injured army personnel or disseminating news related to the recent exchange of fire in the Machedi area of Kathua district without an official statement from the army or police.”

“This request is made in the interest of accuracy, respect for those involved, and to ensure the dissemination of verified information to the public. Official statements will be released as soon as possible to provide clear and factual updates on the situation,” it further added.

The soldiers, as per sources, who died on the spot included JCO Anant Singh; Head Constable Kamal Singh; Rifleman Anuj Singh; Rifleman Asarsh Singh while the injured persons shifted to SDH Billawar included Head Constable Arvind Singh; Head Constable Sujhan Ram; Naik Vinod Kumar; Naik Sagar Singh; Head Constable Gagandeep Singh and Rifleman Kartik. Later out of the injured, another soldier succumbed.

Security forces later cordoned the area and a massive search was underway.

Kathua Deputy Commissioner Dr Rakesh Minhas, when contacted, told Greater Kashmir, “We are in touch with the army, police and people. Our appeal to people is – Don’t panic. If they need any kind of support, they should contact us.”

After the incident, Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, who is MP from Udhampur-Kathua-Doda constituency, posted on ‘X’, “My heart goes out to the brave heart soldiers martyred in the ongoing #Kathua encounter. I am in constant touch with the authorities. Joint police & para military operation is on. My sincere appeal to the civilian population not to panic. We have full faith in our armed forces and we are always indebted to them.”

Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad too condemned the attack on ‘X.’

“Deeply saddened and strongly condemn the ambush on an army vehicle by terrorists in Kathua, resulting in the tragic loss of four jawans and injuries to six others. The rise in terrorism in Jammu province is deeply concerning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families. The government must act decisively to tackle terrorism and ensure public safety!” he wrote.__GK News