According to a statement from the Army’s Northern Command, its personnel have been conducting “relentless intelligence-based operations to flush out a group of terrorists involved in an ambush on an Army truck in the Tota Gali area of Bhata Dhurian in Jammu region last month”.
“In the ongoing operation in Kandi Forest in Rajouri sector, contact was established with terrorists at 0115 hours today and firing was started,” PRO Defence Lt Col Devender Anand said.
Five Army personnel were killed and a major was injured on Friday in an explosion triggered by terrorists in the densely forested Kandi area in Rajouri district where an operation was underway to flush out terrorists, officials said.
“On specific information about the presence of terrorists in the Kandi Forest in the Rajouri Sector, a joint operation was launched on May 3. Around 7.30 am on Friday, a search team established contact with a group of terrorists well entrenched in a cave,” they said.
The area is thickly vegetated with rocky and steep cliffs.
Officials said additional troops of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Army were inducted into the area to put it in a tight cordon so that terrorists do not escape from the spot.
The forces deployed drones and sniffer dogs and troops hit a cave hideout with heavy fire of mortars and grenades, they said.
“The terrorists triggered an explosive device in retaliation,” it said.
On Friday morning, two soldiers belonging to the special forces were killed and four, including the major, were injured during the operation.
Later in the day, three died in a hospital in Udhampur.
The slain soldiers were lance naik Ruchin Singh Rawat from Gairsain in Uttarakhand, paratrooper Siddhant Chettri from Darjeeling in West Bengal, naik Arvind Kumar from Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, Havildar Neelam Singh from Jammu and paratrooper Pramod Negi from Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh.