THREE SOLDIERS from the Army’s Rashtriya Rifles were killed and two injured when militants ambushed an Army convoy at Kadlabal Pampore, on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, on Saturday afternoon. The convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar when it was targeted — the fourth attack on an Army convoy in the Valley since August this year. The militants are reported to have fled towards the neighbouring villages. A search operation has been launched in the area.
Confirming the three deaths, Army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said, ‘’An operation has been launched in the area to track down the attackers.” Eyewitness said two to three militants, on motorcycles, targeted the Army convoy near Kadlabal Pampore, in the heart of the town. The attack was carried out despite the presence of security personnel deployed as Road Opening Party (ROP).
“In the late afternoon, we heard firing when an Army convoy was passing through town,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Pampore. ‘’A massive search operation is underway, and all the vehicles moving on the national highway are being checked,” he said. While no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, officials said modules of the Lashkar-e-Toiba or Hizbul Mujahedeen operating in Pulwama could be behind the attack.
A senior police officer said security forces exercised maximum restraint due to the presence of civilians at the site.
On August 17, two soldiers and a policeman were killed when militants attacked an Army convoy on the national highway in Baramulla. Similar attacks were carried out on the Baramulla-Kupwara highway.
Two local Lashkar commanders who were killed by security forces last week were reported to have been involved in three such attacks on the national highway. Condemning today’s attack, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said violence cannot resolve issues.