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Sunjwan attack; bodies of 3 more soldiers recovered; toll 6

The Army today said it has found the bodies of three of its personnel and a civilian, taking the toll to six, and killed four Jaish-e-Mohammad militants who had mounted a pre-dawn stack at the Sunjwan military camp on Saturday.

Five army-men, including two junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and the father of a soldier have been killed in the attack by the militants who struck at the sprawling camp of the 36 Brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JKLI) yesterday, an Army spokesperson said.

In a statement, Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said three heavily armed militants have been killed in the ongoing operation.

While two were gunned down yesterday, the body of a third militants was found today, he said, adding they were in combat gear.

He said that AK-56 rifles, an under-barrel grenade launcher, ammunition and grenades were recovered from them.

“There has been no firing since last night,” the spokesperson said.

However, sources said that four militants have died during the encounter.

Earlier in the day, Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid had said that four militants had been killed.

In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh exuded confidence that the ongoing operation against the militants would be successfully concluded soon.

“I think it is not proper for me to comment when the operation is still on. I’m sure that our jawans, who are in the operation, will successfully conclude it,” he told reporters.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi condemned the attack and said all Indians across political lines stand united with the army-men and women.

Giving details, Lt Col Anand said, “So far, six fatal causalities have occurred. They include two JCOs, three jawans and one civilian dependent, all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Ten people, including Major Avijit Singh, have been injured of which six are women and children, he said.

One of the injured women was pregnant and she later delivered a baby girl through a caesarean operation, he said, adding both the mother and child were stable.

A 14-year-old boy had suffered a gunshot wound in the head and was in a critical condition, the spokesperson said.

Those killed were identified as Subedar Madan Lal Choudhary, Subdebar Mohmmad Ashraf Mir, Havaldar Habib-Ullah Qurashi, Naik Manzoor Ahmed, Lance Naik Mohmmad Iqbal – all from the JAKLI, besides the father of Lance Naik Mohmmad Iqbal, he said.

The officer said that a search operation of the family quarters in the Army complex for evacuation of people and to ascertain the situation was underway. A number of families were still in the camp and the Army’s aim was to ensure their safety, he said.

Vaid said that investigation is on to find out where from the militants came. “Whether they infiltrated from Pakistan or came from Kashmir is being investigated,” the DGP said.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team today visited the camp and examined the evidence collected by the Army from the site of the gun battle, an official said.

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, militants had stormed the Army’s Nagrota camp on the outskirts of the city, killing seven personnel, including two officers. Three militants were also killed in the operation.

Yesterday, the militants had struck before dawn and managed to sneak into the camp from the rear end of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry guarding the periphery.

“The militants entered the family accommodation complex after which quick response teams cordoned off the area and isolated the militants , who were holed up in a few houses (inside the camp),” an official 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 were 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 prevent civilian casualties.

A high alert has been sounded in Jammu and security beefed up in and around the city.

Intelligence inputs had warned of an attack on an Army or security establishment by the Pakistan-based JeM in view of the death anniversary of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged on February 09, 2013.

Injured pregnant woman delivers baby girl
A pregnant woman, who was injured in an attack on the family quarters at the Sunjuwan military camp here, delivered a baby girl in the hospital today.

Rifleman Nazir Ahmed and his pregnant wife were injured in the firing by the militants and were shifted to the Military Hospital at Satwari here, an army official said.

“The army doctors worked all night to save the life of the severely injured pregnant woman with gunshots wounds and helped her deliver a baby girl, following a caesarean section operation,” Jammu-based army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said.

“Both the mother and the baby are stable,” he added.

Lt Col Anand said the condition of a 14-year-old boy, who was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound in his head, however remained critical.

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