The Indian Army killed nine militants, including a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, in five separate gunbattles — four along the Line of Control (LoC) and one in the hinterland of Jammu — over 24 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Eight militants were killed along the LoC where they made attempts to sneak into Indian territory from different places.
The ninth militant, a section commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in Marmat area in the mountain-locked Doda district, 220km northeast of Jammu. He was identified as Noor Mohammad Qadeer, the backbone of the militant outfit in the area. This encounter started at 5.30 am and was over in four hours.
“Combing operations are on in three encounter sites along the LoC in Kupwara district (100 km northwest of Srinagar),” Brigadier Murali Gopalkrishnan of the Army’s Northern Command said. He added all the infiltrators were killed and none of them made it to the Indian side of the fence.
The militants from across the border tried to enter Indian territory in the mountainous and forested belts of Kupwara and Poonch districts at heights varying between 8,000ft and 9,000ft.
Gunbattles along the LoC started on Tuesday afternoon and continued till Wednesday morning.
The infiltration bids are being seen by analysts as a fresh attempt by Pakistan to mount more pressure on New Delhi to talk with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue and to escalate tensions at the LoC and in the hinterland.
The past two weeks have seen militants mounting attacks in Jammu and Kashmir with grenade explosions and hit-and-run shootouts.