2 soldiers, 2 cops also injured in the pre-dawn attack on army convoy
SRINAGAR: Two soldiers and a policeman were killed in a pre-dawn ambush by militants at Khwajabagh in Baramulla town of north Kashmir.
Two soldiers and an equal number of policemen were injured in the attack, reportedly carried out by three militants who managed to escape from the scene. The convoy was on its way to Baramulla from Srinagar.
The attack occurred a few hours after XV Corps Commander Lt Gen Satish Kumar Dua held a detailed meeting with Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhawan on the prevailing situation in Kashmir. The army convoys operate during the night after the anti-India uprising erupted in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s iconic commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Most of the army units scattered across the Kashmir valley receive essential supplies during nights. Highly inaccessible army camps get the supplies through helicopters.
Sources said that two to three militants attacked the last four vehicles of the convoy at about 2:30am with grenades and automatic weapons.
Sources said the attack was so intense and unexpected that the army could not retaliate immediately.
The firing continued for almost half an hour. At least four soldiers were injured in the attack. Two of them succumbed to their injuries. Sources said the policeman, identified as Prithpal Singh, who was traveling in a separate vehicle was also killed in the attack.
Unconfirmed reports said Singh was driving an ambulance carrying a supply of tear smoke shells and riot-gears to Baramulla. The police did not confirm the report. Two policemen accompanying Singh were injured in the ambush.
Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Burhanuddin told local news agency CNS that the outfit carried out the attack and killed at least five soldiers.
He said deputy commander Saifullah Khalid has directed the “special squad”, which carried out the attack, to intensify attacks on security establishments.
However, police sources said a group of non-local Jaish-e-Muhammad militants was responsible for the attack.
The slain policeman was accorded farewell at the police lines in Baramulla where senior officers from the civil administration, police and paramilitaries paid tributes to him. His body was later sent to his native village, Singhpora.
The Baramulla attack occurred a day after militants attacked a CRPF party at Nowhatta in old Srinagar on August 15. A commandant of the paramilitary force was killed in the attack and eight others including a policeman were injured. However, this is the first attack on army since the new phase of anti-India uprising began in Kashmir after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
In another late night attack, five police personnel were injured when unidentified militants hurled a grenade towards a police party at Kakapora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Due to massive public protests in every nook and corner of the valley, the army was compelled to reschedule the convoy movement last month. Most of the convoys traveled on Srinagar Jammu highway or Srinagar Baramulla highway after midnight.
Sources said that the uprising has affected the supply of essentials to the army camps located in every part of Valley, especially within the civilian population. Most of the army camps and formations are getting supplies through helicopters.