Four Armymen were killed in North Kashmir’s Hafruda forest early Monday morning as militants opened fire on an Army patrol.
The Army, along with the Special Operations Group of the Jammy and Kashmir police, had launched a routine operation late Sunday night in the dense Hafruda forests, four kilometres from Hafruda village.
According to a Defence spokesperson, militants present in the area opened fire on the Army assault party, leaving three jawans seriously injured and another missing. The three injured men died on the way to the hospital, while the body of the fourth was recovered Monday afternoon.
“The Armymen came under fire while searching the area. Four of them lost their lives,” the defence spokesperson told The Indian Express.
He said an operation to track down the militants is underway. Soon after the attack, four units of the Rashtriya Rifles, along with SOG personnel, launched a massive search operation in the forests, which are spread across 22 villages. The Army also sought the assistance of Para commandos. Officials called it one of the biggest operations against militants in recent times.
The Army said it has inputs that four to five militants were responsible for the attack. Hafruda, which has a dense forest cover and is close to Rajwar and Ramhall belts in Kupwara district, is frequently used by both local and foreign militants as a base. Four militants and an Armyman were killed in the forest in an encounter last month.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed expressed regret over the killing of the four soldiers.
In a separate incident, a militant was killed in an encounter in Lolab Valley in Kupwara district. The Army spokesperson said the operation was launched following a specific tip-off.