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JCO among 5 army personnel martyred as terrorists ambush army truck in Kathua, 5 injured

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Kathua: Five army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), were martyred and as many were injured on Monday when heavily armed terrorists ambushed a patrolling party on the Machedi-Kindli-Malhar road in district Kathua.
The terror attack, the fifth in Jammu region in a month, evoked widespread condemnation with political leaders including three former chief ministers expressing concern over the growing terror incidents, especially in the Jammu region where militancy has returned after being wiped out over two decades ago.
The terrorists targeted an army truck, part of a routine patrolling party, with a grenade and gunfire on the Machedi-Kindli-Malhar road near Badnota village in Lohai Malhar, approximately 150 km from Kathua town, at around 3:30 pm, the officials said.
After the ambush, the terrorists fled into the nearby forest, as the army, assisted by police and paramilitary personnel, retaliated.
The army vehicle, carrying ten occupants, bore the brunt of the attack, resulting in fatal injuries to five soldiers, including a JCO. Five others have been shifted to Pathankot military hospital for treatment.
An exchange of fire between the terrorists and security forces ensued, with reinforcements quickly dispatched to the area to neutralise the attackers – believed to be three in number and heavily armed – who may have recently infiltrated from across the border.
Kashmir Tigers, a shadow outfit of the banned Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), has claimed responsibility for the attack.
It is the second major terror incident in Kathua district within one month, following a similar confrontation on June 12 and 13 that left two terrorists and a CRPF jawan dead.
A massive search operation is on despite heavy rains, the officials said.
Director General of Police R R Swain is personally overseeing the anti-terrorist operation in the dense forest area, connected to Basantgarh in Udhampur district, where several encounters have occurred in the past.
The forest area is connected to Basantgarh in Udhampur district. A village defence guard Mohd Sharief was killed in an encounter with terrorists on April 28 in Panara village of Basantgarh.
The officials said there were apprehensions that this route was used by terrorists to reach the hinterland after they managed to sneak in from across the border.
The Jammu region, known for its peaceful atmosphere, has been shaken in recent months by a series of ambushes and attacks by terrorists, particularly in the border districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, and Reasi.
The recent escalation in terrorist activities has been attributed to attempts by Pakistani handlers to reignite terrorism.
Security agencies have been on high alert following a recent ambush in the Gandoh area of Doda district, where three foreign terrorists were killed in a gunfight on June 26.
An army camp in the Manjkote area of Rajouri district was targeted in a firing incident early Sunday, resulting in injuries to a soldier.
One of the most tragic incidents occurred on June 9 when terrorists attacked a bus carrying pilgrims from the Shiv Khori temple in Reasi district, claiming the lives of nine persons and injuring 41 others.
These incidents follow a pattern of escalating violence in the region, with previous attacks on security vehicles, search parties and military convoys resulting in casualties among both civilians and security personnel.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi and former chief ministers – Omar Abdullah of National Conference, Mehboob Mufti of PDP and Ghulam Nabi Azad – condoled the loss of lives and expressed concern over the security situation in the region.
In a post on X, Gandhi said that the “fifth terrorist attack within a month is a grave blow to the security of the country and the lives of our soldiers”.
“The answer to the continuous terrorist attacks has to be strict action, not hollow speeches and false promises,” he said, hitting out at the government.
The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is on a downward spiral, Kharge claimed and added, “No amount of whitewashing, fake claims, hollow boasts and chest-thumping can erase the fact that Modi Govt remains a disaster for the National Security in J&K.”
Mehbooba Mufti, in a post on X, said it is tragic and shocking that soldiers are losing their lives in the line of duty in places where one found little to no trace of militancy before 2019.
“Tells you all there is to know about the current security situation in J&K. Deepest condolences to their families,” the PDP leader said.
Azad said on X, “The rise in terrorism in Jammu province is deeply concerning…the government must act decisively to tackle terrorism and ensure public safety.”
Meanwhile, Congress has expressed shock over the loss of lives & strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Kathua, while terming the security situation worrisome.
JKPCC has saluted the bravehearts and expressed sympathies with their family members and colleagues.
AICC Incharge JK Affairs Bharat Sinh Solanki has strongly condemned the cowardly attack and expressed sympathies with the families of martyrs. He prayed for peace to the departed souls.
JKPCC President Vikar Rasool Wani and all Senior JKPCC leaders have strongly condemned the attack and expressed serious concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Jammu region too and asked the government to launch full scale war against terrorism to save the lives of army, security forces, police and common people.
They said such incidents are intolerable and terrorism has to be eliminated.
Senior BJP leader Devender Singh Rana condemned the terror attack in Kathua district.
“Nation salutes the martyrs of @adgpi who have laid down their precious iives in the line of duty. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. Pakistan has always unleashed terrorism on our soil and is now making desperate efforts by infiltrating highly trained terrorists but Pakistan will not succeed. Terrorism is on last legs in J&K and our determined security forces are responding valiantly and are defeating Pakistan’s nefarious designs on different fronts . Pakistan and its sympathisers in J&K beware your designs will not succeed. Where are those who are the votaries of dialogue with Pakistan? We should urge the world to declare Pakistan a rogue state and take them on,” Devender Singh Rana posted on X.
Gaurav Gupta, former General Secretary of Chamber of Commerce and Industry , Jammu, strongly condemned the a terrorist ambush on an Army vehicle in Kathua district.
Expressing deep sorrow and outrage, Gaurav Gupta stated, “The cowardly attack on our brave soldiers is a reprehensible act of terrorism that deserves the strongest condemnation. My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the martyred soldiers, and I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”
He further emphasized the need for unwavering unity and resilience in the face of such attacks, urging the government and security forces to take stringent measures to counteract and eliminate terrorist activities in the region.
“This tragic incident is a stark reminder of the sacrifices our soldiers make to protect our nation. We must stand together as a community to support our armed forces and ensure that peace and security prevail in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

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