As the security forces continued their massive operation to hunt down the terrorists that killed four Indian Army soldiers and injured at least three others in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch in a targeted attack on Thursday, mobile internet services were clamped down in the Rajouri and Poonch districts on Friday.
Amid increased aerial surveillance of the area, the army has intensified ground combing operations, especially in the forest area of Dera ki Gali in the Rajouri sector of Poonch district.
An official said sniffer dogs, too, had been pressed into service to track down the terrorists that ambushed two army vehicles, en route to support a cordon-and-search operation, at a blind curve near Dhatyar Morh on Thursday at 3:45 pm.
Here's a list of the developments so far.
The People's Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) has claimed responsibility for the Poonch terror attack. The terrorists took to social media to release pictures from the attack site, showcasing the use of sophisticated US-made M4 carbine assault rifles. The M4 carbine is a lightweight, gas-operated, magazine-fed carbine developed in the United States during the 1980s. It is the primary infantry weapon of the US Armed Forces and has also been adopted by over 80 other countries.
Sources told India Today TV that the Dhatyar Morh location in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district was chosen by terrorists to attack as the Army vehicles slowed down at this point due to a blind curve and bumpy road. The terrorists positioned themselves atop a hill at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz, from where they fired bullets at the two Army vehicles, sources said.
Rifleman Gautam Kumar (28) from Uttar Pradesh's Kotdwar returned to duty from his leave on December 16 -- five days before he was killed in the terrorist attack. Gautam Kumar's family was looking forward to his wedding, which was scheduled to take place on March 11, 2024. Gautam's elder brother Rahul Kumar was in tears on Friday as he narrated how the family got a call around midnight on Thursday from his brother's unit saying he had been killed. The family has since been grief-stricken as they mourn the loss of the young soldier
Opposition leaders have condemned the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch and slammed the central government for its handling of security issues. Shiv Sena (UBT)'s firebrand MP Sanjay Raut, known for his vocal criticism of the government, drew parallels between the ambush in Poonch and the 2019 Pulwama attack, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday claimed that the security situation in the Valley is better compared to that of West Bengal. "The security situation in Kashmir is better than that in Bengal. Please visit the state, and you will see the difference," Sinha said while addressing an event in Kolkata.