3 army men, 3 civilians among 10 killed in Jammu attack

Jammu: In a terror strike on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu Division, militants wearing combat uniform on Thursday attacked two Army bunkers close to Indo-Pak border leaving 10 people including three civilians and as many army men dead in a fierce gun battle with security forces.

The dead also included four heavily armed militants who were holed up in a bunker after they were suspected to have infiltrated into Arnia sector from across the border in Jammu district to carry out a fidayeen attack.

At least one militant was still taking refuge in a bunker and the encounter was underway, police said, adding that tanks were also deployed in a possible step to blast the bunker. The bunkers are abandoned and used only during war.

Modi is due to address a rally tomorrow in Udhampur district, which is 100 km from Arnia. The attack also coincided with the SAARC summit in Kathmandu attended by Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

“3 civilians have lost their lives along with 3 army personnel, my condolences to the families. 4 militants have been neutralised in Arnia,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

“The timing of the attack in Arnia can’t be a coincidence,” Omar said, adding “Some things will never change, SAARC summit is on, Ind & Pak PMs (sic) at the same venue and a fierce encounter breaks out in Jammu.”

Omar said all police nakas along the National Highway in Jammu and other sensitive locations have been put on high alert and the situation is being closely monitored.

“As per initial reports from the area, a group of four to five militants infiltrated into Arnia belt from across the border this morning and resorted to firing,” a police officer told PTI, adding the security grid of Army, BSF and Police swung into action and launched a cordon and search for the militants.

An Army official said the militants changed their dresses and wore combat uniforms near a bridge and resorted to firing before entering two bunkers of its 92 Infantry Brigade at a security embankment in Pindi Khattar belt close to the IB.

Security personnel recovered the belongings of militants that included their dresses, blue coloured belts and shoes, an Army official said.

A car has also been seized from the area which might have been used by the militants, the official said.

The official said that militants had either come in this vehicle to carry out the attack or were supposed to take it after infiltrating into Indian territory and take the National Highway route as part of their terror plans.

Inspector General of BSF, Jammu frontier Rakesh Sharma, however, ruled out infiltration of any militant group at the IB in Jammu sector, saying no breach of fencing was seen anywhere.