Gurez encounter continues; 13 militants killed

Nearly a dozen infiltration attempts by militants were detected and foiled in the first two weeks of this month.

Updated: Aug 24, 2011, 19:51 PM IST

Srinagar: One more militant was killed in
the Army`s counter-infiltration operation in Gurez sector of
north Kashmir, near the LoC, as the death toll of ultras rose
to 13 in the gunbattles that entered its fifth day.

The military operation inside the forests of Gurez sector
follows the first large infiltration attempt of the year,
which was detected and foiled by the Army last week when 12
militants were killed in an operation in the same sector of
Bandipora district.

"The operation continues in Gurez area," defence
spokesman Lieutenant Colonel J S Brar said.

So far, 13 militants and one army officer have been
killed in the gunbattles.

The first confrontation among a group of militants,
coming into the Kashmir Valley from across the line, and army
personnel took place on the night of August 19-20.

Army killed 12 militants who were attempting to cross
Kishenganga river, which at some parts acts as the LoC, in a
gunfight that raged for many hours.

Lieutenant Navdeep Singh, from 15th Battalion of Maratha
Light Infantry, was killed in the gunfight.

Since then, Army has continued its operation in the area
launching a manhunt for militants who might have succeeded in
escaping the initial encounter.

"Post encounter, intensive search operations have been
undertaken in the jungles in the vicinity of the encounter
site," the defense spokesman said.

The 13th militant was killed yesterday during search
operations near the vicinity of the August 20 encounter site.

Brar said the militant fired indiscriminately at the
soldiers, who returned the gunfire and killed the ultra. The
identity and group affiliation of the slain militants were not
yet known.

The gunbattles have come at a time when the region is
witnessing a sudden spurt in infiltration attempts by
militants from across the LoC.

The increase in infiltration bids follows a long period
of lull during which several top ranking militant commanders
were eliminated in the Kashmir Valley.

Earlier this week, Army had said militants will make
further attempts to cross the LoC in the next two months
before the onset of winter.

The first seven months of this year witnessed zero-
infiltration, which happened for the first time in the last 20
years in Jammu and Kashmir.

Nearly a dozen infiltration attempts by militants were
detected and foiled in the first two weeks of this month.

PTI