Two terrorists carried out a ‘fidayeen’ attack on an Army camp in Jammu’s Rajouri district in the early hours of Thursday, killing three soldiers. Both attackers were gunned down in the four-hour firefight that followed. According to officials and eye-witnesses, the first gunshot was heard around 2 am when the terrorists attempted to breach the external fence of the camp located at Paragal, 185 kilometres from here.
The attack, which came four days ahead of Independence Day, marks the return of ‘fidayeen’ (suicide attackers) to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir after more than three years. The last suicide attack took place on February 14, 2019 at Lethpora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
In Thursday’s attack, the two ‘fidayeen’, believed to be from the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed, tried to sneak into the camp but were neutralised, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told PTI. In the ensuing encounter, three Army men were killed, the police chief said. According to the eye-witnesses, the last gunshot was heard around 6.10 am.
Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Singh, who heads the Jammu zone, said, “Someone (terrorists of suicide group) tried to cross the fence of the Army camp at Paragal. The sentry challenged them and an exchange of fire took place. In the fierce gun battle, two terrorists were killed.” Six Army men were injured in the gunfight. Three of them died.
Singh said additional forces have been sent to the Army camp located around six kilometres from the Darhal police station. He said a search and combing operation was underway. Security forces and the police had been put on alert following intelligence inputs on suspected movement of terrorists in the Rajouri belt, prompting them to launch a combing operation in Darhal and Nowshera belt on Wednesday.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists had earlier attempted to carry out a ‘fidayeen’ attack on April 22 in Jammu when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to be in town. However, the two terrorists were killed in a chance encounter with the CISF near the Sunjawan Army camp. An officer of the paramilitary force was killed.
On May 8, a terrorist was killed as the Army foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Laam area of Rajouri district.
There were several blasts in Rajouri district in April and May. Police had busted two modules of the LeT instrumental in carrying out terror acts and ferrying drone-dropped weapons from Pakistan to the Kashmir valley. They arrested five members of two terror modules.