SRINAGAR: Army, on Friday released a comprehensive statement regarding the Rajouri gunfight, during which a militant commander and his associate were killed, and five soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty.
In a detailed statement, the Army mentioned that in recent days, there had been continuous intelligence inputs regarding the movement of two militants in the general area of Kalakot. All intelligence agencies had been working to eliminate this threat.
The night of November 19 brought a confirmed input about a high-ranking militant leader of LeT, identified as ‘Quari,’ active in the Rajouri-Ponch area, along with one accomplice. Coordinated joint operations by the Indian Army, JKP, and intelligence agencies were immediately launched in the General Area Kabokot.
On November 22, around 8:30 in the morning, another input confirmed the presence of these two militants in the general area of Kabokot. Our troops initiated a search in the dense forest where the militants were expected, even though some residents were staying in Dhoks nearby. While our team was searching, the militants, realizing they were cornered, opened fire. Sensing the danger to innocent women and children, an officer came out of cover, pinning down the militants and averting imminent danger to civilians. Tragically, the officer was hit by a stray volley of fire and made the supreme sacrifice.
Taking advantage of the challenging terrain, the militants attempted to break contact, leading to an intense firefight between the militants and our troops. Despite sustaining casualties, our troops maintained contact, eventually pinning down the militants. The firefight continued throughout the day, resulting in three fatal casualties among our troops. With approaching darkness, more operational teams were deployed to cordon the entire area, blocking all escape routes. Unmanned aerial vehicles, night-enabled cameras, and modern equipment were used to keep the area under surveillance through the night.
Search operations resumed on November 23, leading to the recovery of one militant’s body. Further operations to neutralize the second militant, attempting to break the cordon, resumed the firefight at 0740 hrs. In these operations, another soldier sustained a fatal gunshot injury. Finally, by approximately 1330 hours, the second militant was also eliminated.
Both militants were foreigners, with Quari being one of the most wanted militants, trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan. An IED expert and trained sniper, Quari was the mastermind behind civilian killings at Dhangri in January this year and the attack on security forces in Kandi.
A significant amount of weapons, ammunition, and war-like stores were recovered from these militants. It is estimated that they were planning to initiate activities to instill fear in the civilian population and cause unrest in the area. The area sanitization and search operations are still in progress. The success of these operations is attributed to the seamless synergy between the police, army, and other security agencies operating in the area, as stated in the release. (KS)