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NEW DELHI: Army Chief Bipin Rawat arrived in Jammu today and met senior commanders as the operation to flush out terrorists from the Sunjwan Army Camp entered the second day.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat visited Jammu, met senior commanders #SunjwanAttack #SunjwanArmyCamp (file pic) https://t.co/KSSr3e0pQC
— ANI (@ANI)
The Army today said that there was no firing during the night and the focus continued to be the evacuation of people from the family quarters.
A group of heavily armed Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists struck the sprawling camp of the 36 brigade of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in the early hours yesterday, triggering a gunbattle which left two Army personnel including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) dead.
Intel sources said the attack on Army’s residential complex bears the stamp of Jaish-e-Mohammad. It coincided with the fifth anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru, a convict in the 2001 Parliament attack by Jaish, on Friday. Soldiers and their families were sleeping when the terrorists struck in the dark, firing indiscriminately.
A high alert has been sounded in Jammu and security beefed up in and around the city.
Condemning the attack, deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Nirmal Singh, said Pakistan lacks courage to challenge India directly and is, instead, using malicious means to target civilians.
“It’s a condemnable act. This shows the cowardice of Pakistan who can’t face India directly & sends its people to attack civilians here. There are family quarters around the Camp, so the Army is taking precaution in cordoning the area,” he said.
The terrorists had struck before dawn yesterday and managed to sneak into the camp from the rear side of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry on its periphery.
“The terrorists entered the family accommodation complex after which quick response teams cordoned off the area and isolated the terrorists, who are holed up in a few houses (inside the camp),” officials said.
While there was no action around the main entrance and vehicles were moving along the Jammu-Lakhanpur bypass in front of the camp, Army personnel in bullet-proof vehicles engaged in the operation to rescue people from the family quarters in the rear side of the base.
Contingents of CRPF and police were posted outside the boundary wall and were keeping curious onlookers at bay to avoid civilian casualties.
During yesterday’s attack, two of the attackers in combat gear were also gunned down while nine people–a major, three personnel and five women and children–were injured in the day long operation.
The martyred Army officers have been identified as Havaldar Mohammad Ashraf Mir and JCO Madan Lal Choudhary. The JCO’s daughter, Neha, is among the injured.
Condition of the major and another personnel was stated to be “critical”.
“The operation is on and the evacuation (of people from the family quarters) is in progress,” Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI.
He said a number of families are still there and the Army’s aim was to ensure their safety.
“There was no firing since last night,” the officer said, adding that bodies of only two terrorists were recovered from the encounter site.
The latest attack on the camp took place nearly 15 months after the Jammu region was hit by a similar attack. On November 29, 2016, terrorists had stormed the Army’s Nagrota camp on the outskirts of Jammu city, killing seven Army personnel including two officers. Three terrorists were also gunned down.