M A I N   N E W S

3 terrorists killed after 14-hour encounter
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Army personnel display weapons recovered from militants after a gun-battle at Akhnoor
Army personnel display weapons recovered from militants after a gun-battle at Akhnoor on Monday.

Akhnoor, October 27
After a gun-battle lasting 14 hours, three terrorists involved in triggering explosions on the railway track near Jammu resulting in the derailment of the Shalimar Express last night were shot dead by the troops here this afternoon.

However, the terrorists killed a soldier and two others during their run after the attack on the railway track. Eleven persons, including an Army Major and NDTV cameraman Darshan Kumar, were injured.

Train services, which were suspended last night, were restored at about 4 pm today after repair of the track. The Malwa Express and the Hapa Express were the first to leave the Jammu station. Other trains coming here from various parts of the country were terminated at Pathankot, Madhopur and other places en route. The rail track is at a distance of about 8 km from the Pakistan border at the place where the IED was planted by the terrorists.

The Army shot dead two terrorists here during an encounter which began at about 11.30 pm yesterday and ended around 1.30 pm today.

Briefing media persons, Brig Ravi Tushir said two bodies of terrorists had been recovered and search for the third was on.

He said the terrorists were in khaki uniform. They ignored the signal on the strategic Akhnoor bridge and tried to escape when troops opened fire on them.

They took shelter in a building which was blown up by the Army this morning. One terrorist hiding in the building was killed and one more died in a subsequent encounter.

The terrorists, suspected to be of the Lahkar-e-Toiba outfit, who were wearing police uniform, indiscriminately fired at the occupants of an Indica car on the Jammu-Pathankot highway after blasting the rail track at Jatwal, about 45 km from Jammu, where they killed two persons, Tilak Raj and Deepak, and injured two. The driver managed to escape but the terrorists took the vehicle and reached the Maheshpura area of Jammu where they abandoned it and forcibly took a Tata Sumo belonging to one Javed of Ustad Mohalla and fled towards Akhnoor in an apparent bid to reach the Rajouri and Poonch areas which are hotbed of terrorism.

However, they opened fire on an Army checkpost at the bridge here and killed a soldier, Anil Kumar. Thereafter, on being challenged by soldiers from another checkpost across the bridge, they tried to escape towards the Ambaran road where they were encircled by the troops till early this morning.

They tried to escape in a jeep, but the Army personnel burst its tyres by firing gun shots. The troops arrested the driver Javed and were interrogating him.

Vehicular traffic on the Jammu-Rajouri road was suspended throughout the day because of the encounter. Meanwhile, there was confusion at the railway station as there was no system of proper guidance to the stranded passengers.


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