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JAMMU: A day after the pre-dawn strike by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists at the camp of the 36 Brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry at the Sunjuwan town of Jammu, the death toll reached nine on Sunday with the recovery of the bodies of three Army personnel, one civilian and a terrorist.
As the gun-battle entered the second day on Sunday, one terrorist was eliminated, while three jawans — Havildar Habibullah Qureshi, Naik Manzoor Ahmad and Lance Naik Mohd Iqbal — and a civilian, identified as the father of Lance Naik Iqbal, were killed on Sunday, an Army spokesman said.
“During the operation, the Army killed four terrorists, donning Army combat dress and carrying AK-56 assault rifles, a large quantity of ammunition and hand grenades. The terrorists were holed up inside the family quarters in the camp,” defence spokesman Lt Col Devendra Anand said.
On Saturday, two Army personnel — JCO Madan Lal Chaudhary and Subadar Mohammad Ashraf Mir — and two JeM terrorists were killed and nine others, including a pregnant woman, were injured.
Special commandos were rushed in from Udhampur to Jammu for the final assault, while choppers and drones monitored the situation at the encounter site, the spokesperson said. Although the firing was stopped around 2am on Sunday, the operation to flush out the holed-up terrorists from the camp began later in the day. The holed-up terrorists, according to Army sources, were bundled in a residential building, which caught fire during the gun battle.
“A search of the belongings of terrorists suggested that they belonged to JeM. Operations carried out with caution to safeguard unarmed soldiers, women and children in the family quarters in the camp. Most of the over 150 houses in the camp were cleared and occupants moved to safety,” the spokesperson added.
Just after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat arrived in Jammu on Sunday to take stock of the situation, a four-member National Investigation Agency team reached here to examine materials — weapons, combat dress and JeM flags — recovered from the slain terrorists.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed serious concerns over the fidayeen attack. The governor spoke to Lt General Devraj Anbu, Northern Army Commander, and conveyed grief over the death of army personnel.
Condemning the act, the CM described the attack as an “effort by elements inimical to peace to break the developmental pace in the state”. She appealed to people to defeat the “nefarious designs” of the perpetrators.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and his son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the “dastardly attack” and expressed solidarity with the families of those who died in the line of duty.