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Colonel, 2 militants die in encounter

india Updated: Aug 23, 2008 00:09 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times
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A colonel and two soldiers were among five killed in a fierce encounter with a heavily-armed group of infiltrators in the Machail sector of Kupwara district in northwest Kashmir on Friday.

The encounter took place after Pakistani troops fired from across the Line-of-Control (LoC) in Keri area in Poonch district on Thursday night.

Colonel J Thomas, commanding officer of 45 Rashtriya Rifles, which was guarding the area close to the LoC in the Machail sector, was among those killed on Friday.

He was leading the army operation against a fresh group of infiltrators who opened heavy fire on the troops after being ordered to surrender, sources said. Two militants were killed in the exchange of fire.

Till reports last came in on Friday night, the gun battle with the militants was continuing in the thickly forested area.

Two ceasefire violations in 24 hrs

On Thursday, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice. The Pakistanis first fired mortar shells in the Nowshera area of Rajouri district. They followed it up late in the night by firing rockets and mortars in Keri sector of Poonch district. There was, however, no loss of life in the incidents.

Army sources said Pakistan’s actions were in clear violation of the ceasefire declaration of November 2003. Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire several times in recent weeks.