Search ops launched at Poonch attack site | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Search ops launched at Poonch attack site

May 06, 2024 01:46 AM IST

Security forces are searching jungles near Surankote for terrorists who ambushed an Indian Air Force convoy, killing a soldier.

Security forces continued searching the jungles near Surankote on Sunday to track down terrorists who ambushed an Indian Air Force convoy a day earlier, killing a soldier and wounding four others, officials said, adding that six people had been detained for questioning.

Security personnel during a search operation in Pooch. (PTI)
Security personnel during a search operation in Pooch. (PTI)

The six detained are local residents and investigators are questioning them about potential logistical support to the attackers, who are believed to number around four, the officials said, asking not to be named. The area’s dense forests, hideouts and undulating terrain have complicated the manhunt so far.

“Aerial surveillance has also been launched in the hills of Shahsitar, Lassana Top, Sanai Top, Gursai, Sheendhara Top and adjoining areas to track-down the movement of terrorists, believed to be four in number,” said one of the officers.

Investigators determined the militants used US-made M4 rifles and AK-47 assault rifles in the ambush, firing around 200 bullets within 15 minutes at the lead vehicle, an Ashok Leyland truck, this person added.

ALSO READ | IAF soldier Vikky Pahade, killed in Poonch attack, was to visit home for son's birthday in 3 days

The slain soldier was identified as corporal Vikky Pahade, 33, from Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. He had joined the air force in 2011 and is survived by his five-year-old son, wife, mother and three sisters.

“We stand firmly by your side in this hour of grief,” the Indian Air Force tweeted, saluting “the braveheart” who “made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation”.

The attack occurred days before voting on May 25 in Poonch as part of the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency. The Election Commission rescheduled the original May 7 date after bad weather concerns.

The border district of Poonch along with adjoining Rajouri have witnessed some major terrorist attacks over the past two years.

The latest incident in the Pir Panjal region follows the killing of government employee Mohd Razaq, brother of an Army personnel, by terrorists in Rajouri’s Kunda Top on April 22 and village defence guard Mohd Sharief in the Basantgarh area of Udhampur on April 28.

ALSO READ | Ex-Punjab CM Charanjit Channi calls Poonch attack ‘pre-planned stuntbaazi’; draws link to LS polls

Police have released pictures of two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including suspected Pakistani national Abu Hamza, involved in the murder of Razaq and announced a cash reward of 10 lakh for information leading to his arrest.

Late last year, five army personnel, including two Captains, and two terrorists, including a Lashkar commander, were killed in ambushes and counter-terror operations. The stretch between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz on the boundary of Rajouri and Poonch is densely forested and leads to Chamrer forest and then Bhata Dhurian forest, where five soldiers were killed in an ambush on an Army vehicle on April 20 last year.

In May last year, five more Army personnel were killed and a major-rank officer was injured in Chamrer forest during an anti-terrorist operation.

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