4 Jaish militants killed on way to Kashmir from Jammu

Four Jaish militants killed in Jammu while trying to travel to Kashmir

The highway has been closed for vehicular traffic

The encounter was underway till last reports came in, they said, adding that four terrorists are believed to be in the vehicle. Credit: AFP Photo

Four freshly infiltrated militants, believed to be affiliated with Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit, were killed in an encounter with security forces on the outskirts of Jammu, on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, on Thursday morning.

Two policemen were also injured after the militants opened fire at the security team when the truck, on way to Kashmir, was stopped at around 4.45 am for a security check at Ban toll plaza near Nagrota, police said. The group of terrorists onboard a truck was on its way to Kashmir valley.

Inspector General Police (IGP), Jammu, Mukesh Singh said the truck driver took advantage of darkness  and fled from the spot while security forces recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition, including 11 AK-47 rifles, three pistols and 29 grenades.

“As the truck was stopped for search, the driver stepped out and fled. During the search of the vehicle, the hidden militants opened a heavy volume of fire that met with retaliation, in which all four militants were killed,” he said and added the encounter lasted for three hours.

The IGP said that it was a newly infiltrated group of four militants and given the quantity of weapons recovered from them, it seems they were “planning something very big.”

“It's possible that they were planning a big attack. It's possible that they were targeting the DDC (District Development Council) election. However, we're investigating,” he said and added that this was t he largest seizure of weapons in the recent past,

Earlier, J&K police chief Dilbagh Singh said the group had infiltrated into India through the International Border in Samba on Wednesday night. 

The incident happened just nine days ahead of the first phase of first ever DDC polls in the union territory. The DDC elections are being held from November 28 to December 22 and the Centre has rushed 25,000 additional paramilitary troops to thwart any possible attacks by militants.

Earlier on January 31, three Pakistani militants affiliated with the Jaish, travelling in a truck towards Srinagar were killed in a similar encounter at the same place. In November 2016, seven soldiers, including two officers, were killed when terrorists dressed as policemen stormed a military camp in Nagrota.

The national highway has often been used by militants in attempts to carry out sneak-and-strike attacks. Their modus operandi is to breach the border at various points to enter Jammu, and after hitching a vehicle by force they carry out suicide attacks on the army or police installations.