Tuesday, November 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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5 Lashkar ultras shot in Poonch
Jammu, November 19
Five terrorists of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba were shot dead by the security forces in a fierce encounter at the Harri area in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir early today.

Leh airfield ready for MiG-29
Leh, November 19
The world’s highest airfield here has become operational for the Indian Air Force’s frontline fighter, MiG-29, with the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal Vinod Bhatia, declaring it would give New Delhi a “far greater reach towards Central Asia”.

Army soldiers armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers patrol near the highway town of Ramban, 150 km east of Jammu, on Monday. — Reuters


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5 Lashkar ultras shot in Poonch
Tribune News Service and agencies

Jammu, November 19
Five terrorists of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba were shot dead by the security forces in a fierce encounter at the Harri area in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir early today.

Poonch Senior Superintendent of Police Kamal Saini said on phone that the security forces launched a joint operation to flush out the Pakistan-trained Lashkar ultras who had infiltrated into the area from the Line of Control and were planning major strikes in the region.

Six persons were injured in two improvised explosive device blasts in Jammu and Doda districts since last night, official sources said.

Suspected militants triggered a powerful IED blast near the Line of Control (LoC) in fields at the Dingri Pattan area on Monday morning, they said adding that three civilians were injured.

The security forces also foiled an infiltration bid along the International Border and shot dead two militants in Jammu division, official sources said here.

On noticing their movement in Arnia sector, the BSF challenged them. In the encounter that followed, the militants were killed.

Meanwhile, three more soldiers, who were wounded in militant attack on an Army convoy at Ramban on Sunday, succumbed to their injuries in the military hospital at Udhampur today raising the total toll 19.

Official reports said in all 13 soldiers were killed in the grenade and gun fire by the militants. Four civilians were also killed. In the retaliatory fire, the troops had eliminated two militants. As many as 26 wounded soldiers are in the military hospital and the condition of three is stated to be still critical.

Meanwhile, people of Ramban observed a complete bandh today in protest against the militant attack on the Army convoy in which several soldiers and civilians were killed.

SRINAGAR: A junior commissioned officer (JCO) and three militants were among six persons killed in the valley in the past 24 hours.

The JCO was gunned down and three soldiers were injured in an ambush by militants last night on a search party at Dardapora in the frontier district of Kupwara.

Elsewhere in the valley, three militants were among five persons killed overnight.

Official sources said the insurgents unleashed a barrage of gunfire at the search party last night, killing the JCO and injuring three soldiers. The rebels managed to flee.

The security forces fired in the air and burst teargas shells to disperse a stone pelting mob which had blocked traffic on the Srinagar-Charar-e-Sharief road. The demonstrators were protesting against what they said were three custodial deaths, including that of a student.

The police said three militants were killed in two encounters with a special operations group of Jammu and Kashmir police.

Official sources said a hand grenade thrown by militants at a Border Security Force picket at Kaka Sarai in the downtown city this afternoon fell by the roadside without causing any damage.
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Leh airfield ready for MiG-29

Leh, November 19
The world’s highest airfield here has become operational for the Indian Air Force’s frontline fighter, MiG-29, with the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal Vinod Bhatia, declaring it would give New Delhi a “far greater reach towards Central Asia”.

Air Marshal Bhatia, speaking to a visiting group of newspersons in the backdrop of four MiG-29s, codenamed Fulcrum by NATO, performing live battle manoeuvres, said the Air Force’s most lethal air superiority fighters becoming operational at Leh would mean, “we are closer to threats to the security of the country”.

For the first time, the AOC-in-C of Western Air Command said, the IAF had been successful in making fighters operational from Leh, having failed earlier with fighters like MiG-21 and Jaguar aircraft.

Air Force experts said making fighters, that too frontline warplanes like MiG-29, operational from Leh was significant as the airbase in terms of flying distance was just 660 km from the embattled Afghan capital of Kabul, 445 km from the Pakistani capital Islamabad and also near to Chinese mainland towns. PTI
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