Toll in Sunjwan army camp attack reaches 10

Toll in Sunjwan army camp attack reaches 10

Toll in Sunjwan army camp attack reaches 10

The death toll in the ongoing encounter between holed-up fidayeen (suicide) militants and security forces in Sunjwan, Jammu, reached 10 on Sunday, as the siege at the army compound entered the second day.

Five soldiers, four militants and a civilian have lost their lives so far in the operation which began at 4:55 am on Saturday after an unknown number of fidayeen militants stormed an army camp in Sunjwan area on the outskirts of Jammu city.

Eleven people, including Lt Col Rohit Solanki and Major Avijit Singh of 6th Mahar regiment, women and children, were also injured in the gun battle. Alite IAF commandos flanked by armoured vehicles continued their searches in the sprawling compound.

The slain army personnel were identified as Madan Lal Choudhary (1st Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, JAKLI), Sub. Mohd Ashraf Mir (1st JAKLI), Hav. Habib-Ullah Qurashi (1st JAKLI), NK Manzoor Ahmed (1st JAKLI), L/NK Mohd Iqbal (1st JAKLI).

Reports said the operation continued till late into Sunday night. No more gun shots were fired at the shootout site after the death of the fourth militant. Searches are now going on to sanitise the camp as it is still unclear whether any militants remain in the compound.

UAVs used

After a night-long halt, the army resumed the operation to flush out terrorists of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit close to the residential area of Sunjuwan military station, reports said.

Sources said after failing to locate the exact position of militants inside the compound, the army used Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) fitted with cameras.

The militants had struck before dawn on Saturday and managed to sneak into the camp from the rear side of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry on its periphery.

Army had on Saturday said that the search of belongings of the slain militants confirmed that the attack was carried out by JeM terrorists.

The camp is spread over many acres and lies in the heart of Jammu along the Jammu-Pathankot highway.

The army spokesman said that operations are in progress with "extreme caution and restraint" to safeguard the unarmed soldiers, women and children in the houses. He denied any hostage situation and claimed that over 150 houses in the complex were cleared and occupants moved to safer places.

Earlier attack
This is also the second attack on the Sunjwan military station in 15 years. In 2003, terrorists had barged into its premises and killed nearly a dozen soldiers. The latest attack came a day after the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Delhi's Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013. Following the attack, a high alert was sounded in Jammu and security was beefed up in and around the city.

Sunjwan is the third biggest army facility in Jammu and Kashmir after Northern Command's headquarters in Udhampur and Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar.

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