Srinagar/New Delhi: A high alert has been sounded along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir Valley as infiltration from across the border has seen a sudden spurt with terror groups including banned Lashker-e-Taiba (lLeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) believed to have sent nearly 20-25 cadres in the last 10 weeks.
The terror activities in Kupwara district over the last eight weeks are suggesting that infiltration from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) has increased and these terror groups want to set up base in North Kashmir where the presence has been weak of both the Pakistan-based terror outfits, official sources said today.
A thorough analysis of intelligence inputs gathered from various agencies indicate that nearly 25 terrorists may have entered into the higher reaches of Kupwara and were trying to find their way into the Valley, the sources said.
LeT and JeM have been directed by the ISI to set up their bases in North Kashmir and mingle with the local public with the help of over ground workers and sympathisers of terror groups,they said.
The encounter in Manigah forests located on the heights of Kupwara, which has entered into fourth week now, has seen intermittent exchanges of fire between terrorists and army.
It is estimated that nearly 10 LeT terrorists had crossed Shamsabari range along the LoC before moving into Manigah forests and taking refugee in 'Dhoks' (temporary accommodation) of nomads before merging with the locals.
Two, one in gun fight and the other due to cold, have died so far and hunt is on for the others, the sources said. One Colonel of Army was also killed in the encounters that have been taking place in this area.
The sources said that while army had pressed drones and other technical instruments in locating the other terrorists, the treacherous terrain and heavy growth of Conifers in the jungle, natural caves and low visibility was coming handy for militants in hiding and carrying out surprise attacks on army.
The possibility of some of the militants having slipped into Lolab valley cannot be ruled out as well, they said.
The recent unsuccessful suicide attack on an army camp in Tangdhar was seen as a diversionary tactics by terror groups so that pressure was eased at other points for allowing militants to sneak in, the sources said.
Three terrorists and a civilian was killed on November 25 when army foiled the suicide attack.
Lashker's top commander Abu Qaasim, who was wanted in many killings including the Udhampur attack and gunning down of army personnel in 2013, was killed on October 29 in an encounter with police in Kulgam.
The material collected from his possession included a 'cryptic message' that he had gone to Bandipore on October 7 to receive a group of 10 to 15 Lashker militants who had crossed over to Lolab and moved to jungles of Bandipore when he was trapped by police. However, Jammu and Kashmir Police had lost a brilliant officer Altaf Ahmed.
After Abu Qassim's death, searches were conducted in Bandipore forests but it seems that the terrorists had managed to give a slip and it was believed that they may have taken shelter in neighbouring towns or shifted their base to South Kashmir, they said.