3 army men, 4 militants killed in LoC gunfight

Srinagar

Three soldiers and four militants were killed in an encounter that began on Saturday on the Line of Control in northern part of Kashmir’s Nowgam sector, reports said on Monday.

Although the gunfight has stopped, sanitisation of the area is under way. Army officials told The Indian Express that a group of infiltrators were intercepted by the soldiers in Bangus Valley in the Nowgam sector. The militants had sneaked into the Valley through rugged snow mountains.

Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said four militants were killed in the operation. Four weapons and warlike ammunition was recovered from the encounter spot, Col. Kalia said. Defence sources said the army spotted a group of infiltrators near the LoC. However, after an initial firefight, the militants managed to escape leaving some weapons behind. Later the militants were again intercepted near the Badibehak Bangus area. The firing continued for two days, the Indian Express reported.

This is the first infiltration attempt intercepted by the army in Nowgam sector this year. This winter, Nowgam witnessed heavy snowfall that damaged the fencing meant to stop infiltration. There are reports with intelligence agencies that some militant groups had already sneaked into north Kashmir taking advantage of the damaged fencing.

On Saturday, two infiltrators and two soldiers were killed after the encounter began, the toll rising to three soldiers and four militants on Sunday. Officials said that of late, militants seemed to prefer sneaking into the Valley through Nowgam because of dense forests. Once in the Bangus forests, it becomes easier for them to move towards Kupwara, Handwara or Rafiabad. The presence of militants in the downward forests of Rajwar has helped fresh militants to find safe hideouts in the area.

Recently, the army had spotted some militants in the Uri sector but failed to intercept them.

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