Wednesday, June 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Poonch airport hit in Pak shelling
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Jammu, June 11
Pakistani troops continued shelling parts of Poonch district in Jammu division hitting Poonch airport today, even as seven civilians, including two women, were injured in the firing since last evening, official sources said here.

They said the shelling started at around 3 am today hitting the airport but did not cause any damage.

Indian troops retaliated and exchange of shelling was continuing in some areas of the district, the sources said.

They said Pakistani troops targeted Poonch town and areas of Khari-Karmara, Jallas, Salotri, Dallan, Malti and Megnar with mortar shells from 6.30 pm to 10.30 pm yesterday resulting in injuries to two women.

A defence spokesman of Northern Command said exchange of artillery, mortar and small arms fire continued last night at Siachen Glacier, Dras, Batalik, Krishna Ghatti, Poonch, Noushera and R.S. Pura in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, an Army officer was killed and seven other persons were injured in Pakistani mortar and artillery shelling along the Line of Control in Poonch and Rajouri sectors of Jammu and Kashmir since last night, the sources said here today.

Army officer Lt Abhey was killed in shelling in the Jangard area of Noushera sector early today, they said, adding that one jawan Ashok Kumar, and two civilians were injured at Handan village during the night.

Pakistani troops fired mortars on Laam, Jangard, Phardpur, Pallanwala, Poonch town and Balnoi early this morning and were also intermittently shelling Pallanwala (Akhnoor) and Phadpur (Samba), they said.

The troops shelled forward defence locations and civilian areas in Jangard, Poonch town, Laam, Bhawani, Noushera, Dallan, Sajla Mankote, Mendhar and Balakote areas during the night, they said.

Two women were injured in the Dallan area while two persons were wounded at Sajla village in Mendhar and Salodri, the sources said.

The sources said the Indian troops retaliated “effectively” and damaged several Pak bunkers across R.S. Pura, Poonch and Pallanwala.

According to the police, several mortar shells exploded in Pallanwala but there was no casualty even as some houses were hit by splinters because the entire Pallanwala area has been a deserted place after the entire population fled to safer areas during the 1999 Kargil conflict.

Defence Ministry sources said de-escalation on the LoC and international border was linked with the mood and behaviour of the Pak troops. They said in case the Pak forces continued to fire mortar and artillery shells de-escalation was out of question.

An army officer and four militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Harkat-ul-Jehadi-Islam (HuJI) were killed in separate incidents in Jammu division since yesterday, the sources said.

An Army Captain, Ashish Dera, who was critically injured in a landmine blast near the international border in the Kanachak area last morning, died in a military hospital last night, the sources said.

Two militants identified as Saleem, self-styled commander of the HuJI and Hamza Turkey of the LeT, were killed in a fierce gunbattle with troops in the Surankote area of Poonch district last evening, they said.

One RPG, three RPG boosters, two anti-tank rounds, one high explosive round, one AK rifle, one pistol and ammunition were seized from them.

In another encounter, troops killed two LeT militants identified as Ajaz Ahmed, code named Amjid, alias Gurshan, of Koita (Pakistan) and Hassain, at Gali Singhpore in Doda district yesterday, the sources said, adding that two AK rifles, five magazines, 100 rounds and five rifle grenades were seized from them.

SRINAGAR: At least three jawans were injured when militants detonated a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Tangwani Kokernag in south Kashmir on Monday night.

Elsewhere in the state, two persons, including a former militant, were killed while security forces unearthed a hideout in Jammu and Kashmir overnight.

An official spokesman said militants detonated an IED at Tangwani Kokernag when a civil bus carrying security personnel reached there, resulting in injuries to three jawans. The bus was also damaged, he said.

Militants attacked a joint camp of security forces and the police at Aishmuqam in south Kashmir late on Monday night with automatic weapons. Security forces retaliated and the exchange continued for some time. No one was injured.

The spokesman said militants kidnapped and later killed a Public Health Engineering department employee Abdul Rehman Rather at Mati Gowran Kokernag on Tuesday.

A released Hizbul Mujahideen militant Abdul Rashid Dar was killed by militants at Athoora Payeen in Baramula on Monday night.

The police and security forces destroyed two militant hideouts at Saroti in Poonch district on Monday night and seized a pistol, a wireless set, four grenades and 15 rounds.

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