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Day 5: Gunbattle on between terrorists-Army in Poonch

Day 5: Gunbattle on between terrorists-Army in Poonch

Four terrorists killed but the bodies have not been recovered.

New Delhi: The gunbattle between security forces and terrorists in Poonch entered its fifth day on Monday.

There has been non-stop firing between security forces and a group of terrorists for the last 15 hours.

However, the terrorists stopped firing since Monday morning with senior officers saying it is perhaps an attempt by them to save ammunition.

They also said that there was heavy firing late Sunday evening when the terrorists tried to escape in the dark.

One of the hideouts in the area has been busted, which had food stocks and ammunition to last several months.

Sources said three more hideouts are believed to be there in the forests, with top commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Laskar-e-Toiba operating from there.

They also says that 6-10 terrorists are said to be hiding in the forests.

A combing operation for the forests near the Line of Control began on Sunday and security forces have cordoned off the area to prevent the terrorists from escaping.

Since the start of the encounter on Thursday night, security forces have killed four terrorists although the bodies have not been recovered so far.

The Army has lost two jawans. After a lull on Friday night, firing had resumed early Saturday. A special police officer has been killed in the gunbattle.

The encounter is on in Bhatidhar forest, from where Jaish-e-Mohamad and Lashkar-e-Toiba militants had been allegedly operating for the last several years.

Defence sources said that the terrorists are hiding in cave-type hideouts in the Bhati Dhar forests of Mendhar which is making the operation of capturing or killing them alive.

"The Army and the police have put up a three-tier cordon and are zeroing in on the cave-type hideouts in the Bhati Dhar forests," a defence source was quoted as saying by PTI.

Heavy fog is the area is coming in the way of the security forces.

According to intercepts some top commanders of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al-Badr and the Lashkar-e-Taiba were holed up there.

"We will not allow them to escape from the spot. The operation will finish only after the recovery of their bodies," the source added.

(With inputs from PTI)
first published:January 05, 2009, 09:53 IST