UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


5 soldiers among 11 killed in Kupwara gunbattle

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, March 23, IRNA - A fierce gunbattle raging in northern Kashmir forests for last three days has left at least five Indian soldiers dead and several others injured.

The toll among the injured soldiers may go up as some of them were in a critical condition, defence sources said.

Army Sunday said four militants have also died in the gunbattle which was continuing when reports last came in this evening.

One of those killed was an officer of the Indian army.

Sources said Indian troops launched an operation three days back in dense Hafrooda forests in the Kupwara district following reports of presence of militants there.

The militants hiding in the forest opened fire on the joint search party of army and police special task force and in the ensuing gunbattle, a major was killed and several soldiers were injured, a defence spokesman said.

Injured were airlifted to Badamibagh base camp hospital in Srinagar where four of the wounded soldiers later succumbed to injuries.

The condition of several other soldiers was stated to be critical.

Sources said two militants were killed in the battle Sunday morning.

A para unit, whose men took the casualties, had joined the encounter on Saturday.

"The fighting was still continuing," said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel J. S.
Brar, adding six militants had been killed so far.

The gunbattle raged while Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged fire on Saturday across a different stretch of their border, Brar said.

Pakistan accused Indian forces of "unprovoked firing" and said it had lodged a protest with New Delhi.

But an Indian army official blamed Pakistani troops of starting the firing, and said one Indian soldier was wounded.

Cross-border firing in Kashmir has been rare since India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the Himalayan frontier in 2003, paving the way for a peace process the following year.

In separate encounter, a militant was killed in Tangdhar area of the district Sunday while three ultras were gunned down at Drangyari near Chowkibal area of the district on Friday.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list