Five soldiers, including a junior army officer, and nine others, including women and children, injured when a group of heavily-armed JeM militants dressed in army fatigues stormed a military camp here in a pre-dawn attack on Saturday, hurling grenades and spraying automatic gunfire as they entered the family quarters when everyone was asleep, officials said.
Three terrorists have been killed so far, while the others are still holed up. Two of the martyred soldiers were identified as junior commissioned officer (JCO) Madan Lal Chaudhary and NCO (non-commissioned officer) Ashraf Ali, both belonging to the state.
Nine others – five of them women and children including the daughter of the slain JCO who had come to visit her father during school holidays – were injured. Two were in a critical condition.
“As part of the ongoing operations in Sunjuwan, the army has killed two heavily armed terrorists. The terrorists wearing army combat dress were carrying AK-56 assault rifles, large amount of ammunition and hand grenades. Search of their belongings confirms the terrorists to be from Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM). Operations are in progress with extreme caution and restraint to safeguard the unarmed soldiers, women and children in the houses,” a Defence statement said.
Govt needs to answer why the Sunjuwan Military Station in #Jammu was not properly sealed with proper thick walls and fencing on all sides. Look at how tin sheets were kept to seal the boundary apart from the old brick wall. We can’t risk lives of Army personnel, their families. pic.twitter.com/Hk6v8k7CP4
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) February 11, 2018
Most of over 150 houses in the complex have been cleared and occupants moved to safety, it said. “Operations will continue till all the terrorists are apprehended or killed”.
Besides recovering arms and ammunition from the slain terrorists, JeM flags have also recovered from them. Defence sources said that soldiers at the Sunjuwan Military Station close to Jammu city noticed suspicious movement near the camp around 4.45 a.m.
Suspecting they could be militants, the soldiers challenged them. But the gunmen hurled grenades and opened fire from automatic weapons, the sources said. The militants then entered the JCO family quarters in the vicinity and holed themselves up in one of the houses.
“The attack has now been contained. Most of the families have been evacuated from the junior commissioned officers quarters where the terrorists had entered. Before the final assault on the terrorists, we are making sure that no civilians are harmed in this operation,” the statement said.