Friday, 24 Sep, 12.59 am The Daily Guardian

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Three infiltrators killed, Uri operation called off

The Army Thursday claimed to have foiled a major infiltration bid in Hathlanga forest area of Uri in north Kashmir's Baramulla district by killing three militants who were heavily armed. Addressing a joint press conference at army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters, GoC 15 corps lieutenant general D.P. Pandey said that today's infiltration attempt was the second since September 18. "Today morning, alert troops spotted a group of infiltrators in the Uri sector. They were challenged and three militants were killed. The September 18 bid was foiled and the militants were pushed back," he said. Commanding Officer of the operation, while briefing the media men through video conferencing, said: "Today morning, the Army spotted a group of militants in Hathlanga area of Uri at 6 am. Surveillance was enhanced and the group was challenged. Three militants were killed after a brief exchange of fire,"

The army's Uri based Commanding Officer said that three slain were carrying huge quantity of arms and ammunition including five AK-47 riffles, seven pistols, 5 AK magazines, 24 UBGL grenades, 38 Chinese grenades, seven Pakistan made grenades, Rs 35000 Pakistani currency and some edibles. Elaborating further, the GoC said that only one slain has been identified so far who is a Pakistani resident. "The identity of the other two is being ascertained," he said.

On whether today's infiltration had any Afghanistan link, he said: "The Army is alert and that we were anticipating change in the behaviour of Pakistan in September and expecting infiltration ahead of the onset of winter. I would not like to connect this with the geo-politics. We are ready to foil all bids." He said after sanitizing the area, the Uri operation has been called off.

Speaking on the occasion, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that feeling frustrated by the prevailing peaceful atmosphere, rising number of tourist arrivals, Union ministers, and the peaceful situation post death of Syed Ali Geelani, there is a change in strategy from across the LoC. "Now, there is a new trend of hybrid and part time militants, who are being given pistols to carry out target killings during evening hours and then they resume normal activities after a day," the IGP said. He said this year so far, 97 pistols have been recovered from militants, which signifies "hybrid militants are being promoted" to target unarmed policemen, civilians and political leaders.

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