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Fresh firing ensues in Poonch as anti-insurgency operation enters day 12

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Srinagar: An intermittent exchange of fire is on between security forces and the militants in Bhata Dhurian forests of Poonch district where a contact was established earlier Friday after nearly 40 hours, officials said.

The encounter broke out the dense forests of Nar in Bhata Dhurian village of Mendhar sub-division on October 14 after the militants attacked a patrolling party of the army, leaving four soldiers, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) dead.

Following the operation, reinforcements were rushed to the area and a massive search operation was launched to track the militant who police believe have been hiding in the woods for the past nearly two months.

Local witnesses said that the security forces were using high-calibre weapons to target the areas where the militants could have taken shelter. However, there has been no report of any militant casualties so far.

The police have appealed to the local people to stay indoors as the search operation is underway. Announcements in this regard were made through public address systems of local Masjids.

An official said that contact was established with the militants today morning and an intermittent exchange of fire is on. Locals also confirmed hearing small arms’ fire besides loud explosions believed to have been triggered by the security forces.

So far, nine soldiers, including two JCOs have died in two separate gunfights in the district – the longest encounter in the Pir Panjal with the highest number of army casualties.

On October 11, five soldiers, including a JCO, were killed in a fierce gunfight with the militants in Dehra Ki Gali area on Rajouri-Poonch border. Soon, a massive search operation was launched to track the militants who have been exchanging fire and withdrawing back to the woods.

Several locals have been detained who were suspected of providing ration and logistical support to the militants.

2 suspected box-type IEDs diffused in Poonch

Security forces on Friday detected and defused two suspected box-type improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Poonch district, officials said.

They said the two small boxes were detected in Bhata Durian Forest during a joint search operation by the army and police.

The boxes were suspected to be IEDs and were destroyed in-situ, they said.

This is a third instance of IEDs being detected by troops in J&K since Thursday.

An army patrol Thursday had detected and defused an IED fitted in the branch of a tree in the forest area of Sawalkot in Ratangir ridge and later defused it.

Before that security forces had defused an IED in Baramulla district of north Kashmir.

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