One more militant has been killed by security forces and police personnel during searches conducted at a private building adjacent to the Indian Army’s brigade headquarters in Poonch, Monday. The total number of militants killed in the encounter since Sunday morning now stands at four.
Gunfire between militants and security forces continues at the under construction mini secretariat building which is situated just across the road, opposite the office of the district police chief. Sources said that there appear to be one or two militants still holed up inside the under construction building, who seem to be frequently changing their location. The security forces were using a drone to ascertain their location for the final assault.
The private building, belonging to Haji Nazir Mir, who along with his wife Mumtaz had remained hostage there on Sunday, was now clear of militants, sources said. However, exchange of fire at intermittent intervals was still on at the mini secretariat complex, they added.
The slain militants appeared to have sneaked into Poonch town from across the Line of Control (LoC) as Pakistani troops along it had been resorting to unprovoked firing and mortar shelling at various places in Poonch district from time to time since August 14, sources said.
The presence of militants in Poonch town especially so close to Army’s Brigade Headquarters is being seen a major security breach as they had never been able to reach so close to it even during peak militancy in the district during 1990s.
While there have been various check points set up by security forces and the police en route, the security in the town was also bound to be intensified in view of coming Eid festival and last month’s grenade attack on Buddha Amarnath pilgrims and appearance of posters carrying ISIS slogans.
Except for areas surrounding Allapeer and mini secretariat, life was normal in Poonch town with business establishments open and vehicular traffic plying as usual.