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Posted at: Jan 16, 2018, 12:39 AM; last updated: Jan 16, 2018, 12:40 AM (IST)SUICIDE MISSION

5 Jaish fidayeen gunned down in Uri

Penetrate LoC by crossing low-flowing Jhelum in inflatable boat
5 Jaish fidayeen gunned down in Uri
The arms and ammunition recovered from the slain ultras in Uri.

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 15

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit suffered a major blow on Monday when the Army killed five of its members after they were intercepted near the banks of the Jhelum in the Uri sector. The terrorists wearing fatigues, who crossed the river in a boat, had come with a plan to carry out a fidayeen attack.

It is for the first time in the nearly three decades of insurgency in Kashmir that militants infiltrated by crossing the Jhelum, which serves as a natural barrier between India and Pakistan at Dulanja village. This tactic by the infiltrators has come as a surprise to the Army manning the Line of Control in the region.

Brigadier YS Ahlawat, Brigade Commander at Uri, whose troops were engaged in foiling the first major infiltration bid of the year in Dulanja, over 100 km from Srinagar, said a major tragedy was averted on Army Day and before the Republic Day celebrations.

“The infiltration bid by a fierce fidayeen group was made on January 14-15 night along the Jhelum river. Their movement was picked up by alert troops. We tracked their movement as they were crossing the Jhelum in a boat towards our side. As the terrorists were moving along the banks of the Jhelum, they were challenged and in the ensuing fire fight the Indian Army neutralised the five terrorists,” Brigadier Ahlawat told mediapersons at Uri after the operation.

He said four bodies of militants had been recovered so far. “We can’t recover the body of the fifth terrorist as it is lying on the banks near the boat which they had used to cross the river,” Brigadier Ahlawat said.

The militants, it appears, used a rope to keep the boat in line as the river terrain in the Uri region is rough compared to its journey in the hinterland Kashmir.

A senior defence officer said the militants crossed over to this side in a small inflatable kind of boat, taking advantage of the low water level in the Jhelum, which flows into Pakistan via Uri.

“The boat was taken back by one of the terrorists to the other side,” the officer said, adding that it is for the first time that the militants tried to infiltrate by crossing the river in the Uri sector. There have been instances in the past when militants have used boats to cross the Kishanganga river in the Gurez sector in Bandipore district to infiltrate into Kashmir. A large cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the slain militants suggests that they were on a fidayeen mission.

“The recovery included four AK-47 rifles, three under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGL), 38 UBGL grenades, 23 hand grenades, nine IEDs and other war-like items,” the Uri Brigade Commander said. He said they had been getting a “number of inputs about the infiltration attempts”. “Whenever there are important days like January 26 and August 15, militants attempt to disrupt the peaceful environment. So we were quite alert,” Brigadier Ahalawat said.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Baramulla, Imtiyaz Hussain Mir said the fidayeen were associated with Jaish-e- Mohammad and had “come with a plan of undertaking a fidayeen attack.”

AK-47 rifles recovered

A large cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the slain militants suggests that they were on a fidayeen mission."The recovery included four AK-47 rifles, three under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGL), 38 UBGL grenades, 23 hand grenades, nine IEDs and other war-like items," the Uri Brigade Commander said.

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