In one of the deadliest attacks by militants on security forces, four army men were killed and four were injured today in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district when an army patrol party was ambushed. A civilian woman was also killed in the “cross fire”.
The attack was carried out by the Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Mulu Chitragam village in Shopian district in the wee hours of today morning when the army was returning from a cordon operation in Kungoo hamlet in the area.
Three soldiers died on the spot, while two officers including a lieutenant colonel and a major were injured. However, the major succumbed to his injuries later.
The slain army personnel were identified as Major Amar Deep, belt no, 70353x, L/Nk Mohi ud din Rather, Sep Vikas Singh Gurjar and Spr Sreejith Mj.
The woman was identified as Taja Began wife of Ghulam Mohammed Mir of Mulu, who was hit by a “stray bullet inside her house in the cross firing between the militants and the security personnel”, police said.
“On an information a cordon and search operation was carried out at Kungnoo, Shopian, by 44 RR and Police,” police said in a statement after the attack.
“The cordon and search operation (CASO) concluded without any arrest or recovery. While returning from Kungnoo, the CASO party was attacked by unknown militants at Mulu Chitragam at about 2 am resulting in injuries to six army personnel including two officers of whom three succumbed to their injuries,” the police said.
Police sources told KNS that the army personnel from 44 Rashtriya Rifles,moving in more than five vehicles, were returning from cordon and search operations at Kungoo late on Wednesday night. “When they reached Mulu Chitram they were attacked by militants who had laid an ambush,” sources said, adding that the militants fired on the last four vehicles, letting the first two pass.
“Army retaliated the militants’ fire and the firing went on for nearly an hour. But taking advantage of darkness, the militants fled the spot,” the sources said, adding that the women might have been hit by the bullets during the cross fire.
The southern Kashmir has been a new fighting ground between militants and security forces, with gun battles taking place almost every week.
Today’s attack is another major attack where army has suffered casualties. Two weeks before on February 14, three soldiers were killed and 15 security personnel were injured during an encounter with militants in Bandipora district. A militant was also killed in the gunfight. On February 12, two security personnel, four militants and a civilian were killed in an encounter in Kulgam district.
Following the attack today, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant outfit claimed its responsibility. In a telephonic statement to KNS, Hizb operational spokesperson, Burhan-ud-Din, claimed killing of five army men and seven injuries to seven others in the attack.
The spokesman hailed the Hizb squad that carried out the attack on army. Quoting Deputy Chief Peer Saifullah Khalid and Mehmood Ghaznawi, the spokesman said that these commanders “congratulated the squad for carrying out a successful attack on army petrol party.” (KNS)