Heavily armed militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Saturday struck at an army camp on the outskirts of Jammu city killing two army men including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and injuring nine others including a Major.
Three attackers have also been killed in the ongoing gunfight.
Sources said a group of 3-4 heavily armed militants wearing army combat dresses sneaked in the heavily guarded Sunjwan 36 Brigade at around 4:10 am from a Nallah (Khad) area.
A sentry, who was guarding the post, noticed the suspicious activity and fired on the militants.
The militants split in different groups and moved in different directions amidst heavy gunfire.
Sources said some militants barged into the residential quarters and engaged the army men in the gunfight.
While there was no action around the main entrance, Army’s Quick Response Teams (QRTs) launched the operation to rescue people from the family quarters in the camp and flush out the militants.
Army helicopters and drones were also pressed into service to help the troops on ground know the exact location of the militants.
As the gunfight prolonged, specially trained para-commandos were rushed to the spot to take on the militants.
In the evening, army tanks were also pressed into the service to launch final assault on the militants, who had taken positions in concrete buildings.
Sources said three militants have been killed in the day long gunfight.
However, defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand confirmed killing of two militants in the gunfight.
He said also a JCO and NCO were killed and nine others injured in the gunfight.
The deceased have been identified as Lt Madan Lal Choudhary R/o Kathua, J&K and Havaldar Habibullah Quereshi R/o – Kupwara, J&K.
The spokesman said militants’ were wearing army combat dresses and carrying AK-56 assault rifles, large quantity of ammunition and hand grenades.
He said the militants belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Sources said Army men found a flag of ‘Afzal Guru Brigade’ of Jaish from the slain militant.
The defence spokesman said that the operation is in progress with “extreme caution and restraint to safeguard the family members of the army men and officers from the residential quarters.
“Most of over 150 houses in the complex have been cleared and occupants moved to safety,” he said.
“The operation will continue till all the militants part of the fidayeen attack are apprehended or killed,” he added.
Sources said among the injured is Major, who has been airlifted to military hospital in Udhampur for specialised treatment.
They said final assault against the holed-up militants would be launched in the night.
Sources said three special teams – two from Udhampur and another from Himachal Pradesh – for the final assault.
“Contingents of para-military CRPF and police men have been posted outside the boundary wall and they are maintaining tight vigil,” they said.
Generators and searchlights were brought to the camp in the evening, apparently for a night assault.
Though the exact number of militants was not known, officials said preliminary estimates suggested that there could be three to four of them inside the camp.
Schools in a five-kilometre radius around the camp were closed by the authorities as a precautionary measure.
A high alert was 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 Jaish-e-Mohammed in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, who was hanged on February 9,2013.