Kupwara Gunfight: 3 More Soldiers Succumb, Toll Mounts To 8

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Soldiers during an operation against militants in Kashmir countryside- File photo

Srinagar- Three more soldiers, who were injured in a gunfight with militants in Kupwara woods, have succumbed to their wounds, taking the number of army personnel killed in the operation to eight, official said on Monday.

Five militants were also killed in the gunfight which continued for nearly a week reaching the climax on Sunday.

Official sources said that while one soldier died on the spot, a number of others were injured in the fierce gunbattle in the woods. Four of the injured military personnel, including a JCO from elite para force, succumbed to injuries on Sunday while three others lost the battle for life at the army’s base hospital here today, reported news agency GNS.

However, an army spokesperson confirmed death of only five soldiers, three on the encounter site, and two others while being airlifted to a military hospital.

“Four soldiers under the command of a Junior Commissioned Officer from the Para SF Units were heli-dropped at the encounter site in a hostile terrain near LOC. An intense hand to hand battle ensued and all five infiltrators were killed,” a media report quoting an army spokesman said.

“In this battle, however, Army lost five of its best soldiers, three on the site and two more succumbed while they were airlifted to a nearby military hospital,” the spokesperson added.

He identified the slain soldiers as Subedar Sanjeev Kumar, Havaldar Davendra Singh, and Para troopers Bal Krishan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.

Earlier on 5th day of the operation on Saturday evening, the army had rushed elite 4-para soldiers to Rangdoori, Gugaldara and Teen Behak area of Jumgund forests in North Kashmir.

The operation was launched initially by army’s 8 JAT after intercepting movement of a group of militants on Wednesday.

Besides, they said, the searches continued along Awaoora, Kumkadi, Zurhama, Safawali, Batpora, Haihama areas by the joint team of army’s 41 RR, 57 RR, 160 TA and SOG Kupwara.

Meanwhile, at least three families from south Kashmir have approached police, claiming that their kin are among five militants killed in the encounter. The families, two from the Shopian district and another one from the neighbouring Kulgam are said to have reached Kupwara, demanding handing over of the bodies for performing the last rites.

However, police said that it was premature to comment as the identification process would be done once the bodies are handed over by the army.

 

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