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Indian security on alert in Kashmir

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, March 17, IRNA -- Following new spurt in militant activities Indian army has launched a massive anti-militant sweep in various frontier areas of Kashmir.

Even as the troops manning the dividing Line of Control have been put on alert following apprehensions of heightened infiltration with the improvement in the weather.

Indian forces in the state have been put on a fresh alert in the wake of a spurt in violence over the past month while security officers apprehend that militants could step up their activities to register their presence in view of the forthcoming parliamentary elections due next month.

Major tragedies were averted today as the police detected five powerful explosive devices on the strategic airport road in capital Srinagar and in Poonch and Baramulla.

A police party on a routine patrol in Baghat area stumbled on a mine concealed near the residence of a former chief minister, the late Syed Mir Qasim, on the airport road, reports said.

Calling for the assistance of the federal police and the bomb disposal squad, the police blocked all vehicular movement on the key highway, and experts defused the bomb harmlessly.

Defusing the device caused a massive detonation that could be heard over a large area, but did not result in any damage.

The bomb would have led to destruction over a radius of half-a-kilometer if it had not been neutralized in time, a police officer said.

The security forces also detected a string of three explosive devices on the Poonch road that had apparently been planted to target an army convoy.

The mines were detected by a forces' road opening party which was sanitizing the route for the passage of the convoy at around 7 in the morning.

All traffic on the highway was brought to a halt as bomb squads went to work, neutralizing the explosives after hours of effort.

An army spokesman said that the convoy would have suffered large-scale loss of life had it been hit by the mines.

Yet another explosive device was found on the Baramulla highway near the post office by personnel of the BSF who were passing by.

Reports said that the 45 BSF defused the mine with the assistance of the bomb disposal squad.

Meanwhile, the Border Security Force (BSF) shot an intruder dead in the RS Pora sector in the Jammu region when he was trying to cross the border.

Earlier militants had targeted the BSF post on a busy city street after a long lull to show their presence, and a similar grenade attack was carried out at the CRPF in down town area of Nauhatta, even as gun battles had begun to break out between troops and the militants in the forests of Handwara and Kishtwar.

A comprehensive statewide security review is being undertaken in view of the spurt in violence, security officials say.

Meanwhile, the army has begun massive operations Kupwara, Handwara, Poonch and Kishwar against militants hiding in forests because of heavy snow in the higher reaches.

The amry recently claimed to a killed two militants in Handwara near the Line of Control.

Suspecting more militants to be hiding in the woods, the army is of the opinion that militants had taken shelter in temporary forest hideouts to escape heavy snow, and were emerging out with an improvement in the weather.

Further, the army is putting the highways to Jammu, Baramulla, Kupwara, Anantnag and other places under tight vigil as it suspects militant plans to target convoys with explosive mines.


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