SRINAGAR: In a series of four attacks ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Monday visit to Jammu and Kashmir, an armed group of militants on Friday stormed a heavily fortified Army camp in Uri near the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir, killing eight soldiers, including an officer, and three policemen. Six militants were also killed in the six-hour-long firefight. The militants also carried out two grenade attacks in South Kashmir killing two civilians and injuring 20 others, while two extremists, including a top commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba, were killed in a shoot-out with security forces in Soura area of Srinagar.
Sources said a heavily armed group of militants attacked a well-fortified Army camp at Mohra, Uri, about 20 km from the LoC in Baramulla district around 3 am. They said the militants split into two groups with one storming the Army camp by cutting the barbed wire and the other taking positions outside to stop reinforcements from reaching the spot. They said after storming inside the camp, the militants took positions and engaged Armymen in a fierce gunfight.
“The troops from neighbouring camps, who were already in a state of high alert, immediately mobilized their Quick Response Teams (QRTs) and rushed to the encounter site and cordoned off the area,” said Army spokesperson Lt Col N N Joshi, in Srinagar. He said a militant opened fire on the QRT vehicles. “The securitymen retaliated and during the gunfight, an Army vehicle went off the road and overturned, leading to casualties”. Joshi said a militant was killed in the retaliatory firing. “After killing him, the QRTs entered the camp to assist their men, who were fighting the militants. An Army barrack caught fire during heavy exchange of fire between the militants and soldiers,” sources said.
Joshi confirmed that an Army barrack was gutted. “It presumably caught fire as a kerosene heater toppled during the firefight. Some soldiers were trapped in the barrack.” He said the operation to flush out the militants from the camp ended only at 9.30 am after the death of all the militants.
“Eight armymen, including an officer, and three policemen were killed in the encounter. In all, six militants were also killed in the retaliatory firing,” Joshi said.