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Arnia encounter: Security forces kill fourth terrorist holed up in army bunker

The security forces on Friday killed the fourth terrorist, who was holed up in an abandoned bunker in Jammu and Kashmir’s Arnia sub-sector during a joint operation by the army and the BSF.

As per sources, the terrorist was hiding in one of the Army’s abandoned bunkers in the area and was killed during a heavy exchange of fire between him and the security forces.

Meanwhile, the toll in the gunfight between the security forces and infiltrators that started yesterday has risen to 11. Heavy firing on the international border along the Line of Control has also been reported in the area.

A senior police officer said another body was recovered this morning during searches in Arnia sub-sector of Jammu district – the site of the gunbattle that started on Thursday and resumed today.

“Searches in the area had to be stopped after heavy firing exchanges started again at the site this morning,” a senior army officer said.
“Another dead body has been recovered during Friday’s searches,” he said.

“The toll has risen to 11… So far, four civilians, three soldiers and four militants have been killed,” the officer added.

Today’s operation began a day after ten people, including four civilians, were killed in fierce gunbattles in Jammu and Kashmir when security forces took on infiltrating guerrillas, just a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state.

The gunbattle began near the international border on Thursday morning after a group of heavily armed guerrillas infiltrated into the Indian side in Arnia sub-sector.

“The group – comprising seven to eight militants – fired at a civilian vehicle after they infiltrated into the Indian side in Arnia in Jammu district. The driver and two occupants of the vehicle were killed, after which the militants entered an abandoned army bunker in Pind Khote village in RS Pura,” a police officer said here.

“The army and the Border Security Force engaged the militants in a gunfight in which four militants were killed. One junior commissioned officer of the army was also killed and four soldiers were injured,” the officer said.

After firing stopped for some time in Pind Khote village, the surviving guerrillas again shot at the security forces, which resulted in the death of a civilian and another soldier, police said.

The four injured soldiers were shifted to a hospital for treatment. “The infiltration attempt was supported by Pakistan Rangers, who fired mortar shells at BSF positions in Arnia so that the militants could sneak in,” the officer said.

Condoling the deaths of the soldiers and the civilians, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the attack coming at a time when Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif were meeting in Nepal “can’t be a coincidence”.

“The timing of the attack in Arnia can’t be a coincidence. My condolences to the family of the army officer killed in Arnia,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter. Abdullah said all check-posts along the national highway in Jammu and other sensitive locations have been put on high alert.

Modi is scheduled to arrive in Jammu today to address election rallies ahead of the second phase of assembly polls Dec 2.

Bharatiya Janata Party sources said Modi will address rallies in Udhampur and Poonch districts of Jammu region. An unprecedented 70 percent voter turnout was witnessed in the first phase of elections.

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