The Army has recovered the bodies of the two soldiers, including a commissioned noncommissioned officer (JCO), who disappeared during a fierce shootout with terrorists Thursday night in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch. The bodies were recovered 48 hours after the Army launched a major combing operation in the area and heavily hit the forests where the terrorists were suspected of hiding.
With the recovery of the bodies, Army casualties suffered during the ongoing counterterrorism operation rose to nine, the highest in a single encounter in recent times in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to sources, the JCO and the soldier disappeared after the Army was fired upon by terrorists on Thursday. “Subedar Ajay Singh and Naik Harendra Singh were killed in action during search operations carried out by the Indian Army together with the Jammu and Kashmir police in a heavily forested area of the Nar Khas forest in Mendhar, Poonch,” the army in a statement.
Two soldiers, Rifleman Yogambar Singh and Rifleman Vikram Singh Negi, were previously killed in action in the encounter that broke out in the Poonch-Rajouri forests, four days after five members of the army were killed in action in the same area.
The Army lost contact with the JCO Thursday night, an official said.
This morning a major offensive was launched in the Nar Khas forest area in Mendhar. Loud gunfire and explosions were heard in the area as the army tried to drive out terrorists believed to be hiding deep in the woods.
The Army launched a combing operation in Dera Ki Gali on Monday after receiving information about the presence of terrorists there. In the initial shooting, five soldiers were killed, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO).
Reinforcements were sent to the area and since then the Army has been involved in one of the longest counterterrorism operations.
The Poonch-Jammu highway has been closed since Thursday night as a security measure.