3 JeM militants killed in Katra gunfight 12 force personnel including 3 officers injured Troops use drones, helicopters for aerial surveillance

Three militants of Jaish-e-Mohmmad were killed and 12 security men, including police and CRPF officers, injured in an encounter in Katra in Reasi district on Thursday, a day after they fired on a police party and escaped into the forest area.
A police official said the encounter broke out after police, CRPF and Army men during a cordon and search operation zeroed in on a house in Kakriyal area of Katra in Reasi district and surrounded the militants hiding there.
Drones and choppers were used in the operation launched yesterday to track the militants, all of whom were aged between 18 and 22, they said.
“After finding themselves trapped, militants fired on the force personnel. The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter. The encounter continued till late afternoon during which all three Jaish militants were killed,” the official said.
He said 12 security personnel were injured in the gunfight.
Among the injured include six CRPF personnel, including the deputy commandant and the assistant commandant, five police including Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohan Lal, and an Armyman.
The injured were evacuated to the Narayana hospital in Katra.
Sources said one of the militant was killed in open area in which SDPO Nagrota Mohan Lal Sharma sustained bullet injuries.
They said second militant, who was holding up in the house, was killed when he was trying to come out of the house amid heavy exchange of gunfire.
Sources said the forces believed that the third militant, who was considered to be well trained, had escaped towards the forest area after bodies of two militants were recovered.
“However, he was hiding in the maize fields with his assault rifle. After the killing of two militants, media persons had rushed to the spot to report the encounter. As the force personnel were conducting searches, the third militant came out of the fields and opened fire on the forces. In the ensuing exchange of fire, third militant was also killed,” they said.
A police spokesman said it seems to be a case of fresh infiltration of yesterday morning from Pakistan most likely from Hiranagar belt of International Border. “These militants had come from Pakistan”.
He said preliminary investigation suggests that the militants belonged to the JeM.
“Bodies of all three have been found,” he said, adding that arms and ammunition were recovered from them.
IGP Jammu S D Singh Jamwal told reporters that two people transported the militants from Dayalachak in a truck.
“The duo had been engaged in carrying out such acts in the past, and police were investigating their contacts in Jammu,” he claimed.
Another senior police official said during the combing operation, security agencies were informed by a villager that the militants had taken refuge on his house.
Sources said militants had taken shelter in the house of one Raju and asked him to give them tea and bring some food from market.
“The villager managed to convince the militants that he does not have milk for tea. As he won over their confidence, militants gave him Rs 2000 and asked him to bring milk from the market,” they said.
According to sources, militants stayed at his house as he left for market.
“After leaving the house, he informed CRPF search parties about the militants presence in his house,” they said.
The force personnel immediately rushed to the area and evicted the local population before launching assault on militant positions and killing them in the ensuing 7-hour long gunfight.
The official said areas and check posts along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway are on alert. More checkpoints have been set up and vehicles are being searched and passengers frisked, he said.
“The Jhajjar-Kotli forest belt and adjoining areas have been put under a massive cordon,” the official said.
On Wednesday, during checking by flying squad of police at Domail on highway, police party signalled a truck bearing No. JK03-1476, which was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar to stop. The three militants, who were on board the truck opened fire on the policemen.
They later escaped to forest area and police, CRPF and army men had launched a massive combing and search operation in the forest area to track down the militants.
Sources told Rising Kashmir that interrogation of arrested truck driver has revealed that the militants had sneaked from Samba sector and boarded the truck from Dayala Chak in Hiranagar, Kathua.
“The militants were heading for Kashmir in truck,” they said.
According to sources, arrests are likely to take place in Kashmir on the basis of disclosure made by the arrested truck driver, who is being interrogated by intelligence agencies at Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) in Jammu.