Manhunt on at Poonch to neutralise terrorists after attack on IAF convoy

The local Rashtriya Rifles have cordoned off the area 

PTI05_04_2024_000370B Security personnel stand guard after a militant attack on army vehicles, in Poonch district | PTI

Security personnel have launched a massive search operation to track down terrorists who ambushed the Indian Air Force (IAF) convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Saturday. One soldier was killed and four were injured in the attack.

Additional forces of the Army arrived at the Jarra Wali Gali in Poonch Saturday late at night, reported ANI. Security forces have laid down nakas and checking continues in the area. The terrorists, who were armed with AK assault rifles, are believed to have fled into the nearby forests, PTI quoted officials.

The local Rashtriya Rifles have cordoned off the area and are aided by the Army and the Police to track down the perpetrators. There has been no contact with the fleeing terrorists till late on Saturday night. 

The officials suspect the involvement of the same group of terrorists who ambushed troops in adjoining Bufliaz on December 21 last year. In the incident, four soldiers died and three were injured.

One of the trucks in the IAF convoy bore the maximum brunt of the attack with several bullets hitting its windscreen and side. 

Police assisted by paramilitary forces had been carrying out searches in Poonch town since Friday following inputs about the movement of suspected persons. However, no one was arrested during the operation, the officials said. 

The attack comes three weeks ahead of polling in Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency. Poonch is part of Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency which goes to polls in the sixth phase on May 25. 

Congress condemns attack

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned the attack as "extremely shameful and sad." "The dastardly terrorist attack on our Army convoy in Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir is extremely shameful and sad. I pay my humble tribute to the martyred soldier and express my condolences to his bereaved family. I hope that the soldiers injured in the attack recover as soon as possible,” Gandhi said on X.

The Jammu and Kashmir Congress also condemned the terrorist attack. The statement by Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani said the repeated terror attacks on the forces need to be responded to strongly and underlined the need to check the rise in terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir. "We condemn the terror attack on the IAF personnel... We express our grave concern over the escalated attacks by terrorists in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Rajouri-Poonch belt, resulting in the loss of several precious lives of our jawans and officers," Wani said.

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