Top LeT Comdr Gunned Down On LoC, 6-7 Others Retreat

8 May 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Army today thwarted a major terror plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) by killing their top commander in half an hour long gun battle along the Line of Control (LoC) in Mendhar sector of Poonch district while a group of six to seven other Pakistani militants were reported to have retreated to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). With onset of summer and melting of snow in upper reaches, seven to eight militants of the LeT outfit made first major infiltration attempt this summer from the LoC at 8.30 am today when they tried to infiltrate into the Indian territory from Nandri Nullah near Sonawali Gali in Mankote area of Mendhar sector. One of the militants, who was leading the group and was believed to be the LeT commander, opened firing on a team of Barasingha battalion of the Army, headed by an officer, with a view to cause casualties and, in the process, force infiltration of the militants into this side. The Army QRT and troops guarding the LoC immediately took positions and retaliated, resulting into exchange of battle in which the LeT commander was killed. There were no casualties on the Army side. The gun battle raged for half an hour. However, troops continued massive search operation in the area till 12 noon along entire LoC and recovered body of the slain militant inside the Indian territory with a consignment of arms and ammunition. 'The militant was carrying with him a Global Positioning System (GPS), which is provided only to the militant commanders to find the route while leading the group,' sources said, adding the recovery of GPS indicated that the militants had planned to move further towards Pir Panjal range after infiltration. However, Army foiled their plot. Sources said there was group of seven to eight militants, which tried to infiltrate into the Indian territory along with huge consignment of arms and ammunition. While one of them was killed, six to seven others retreated after finding the troops on high alert along the LoC. Slain militant, whose identity hasn't been established, was believed to be a Pakistani commander of the LeT outfit and was wearing combat dress. In fact, sources said, the militants following their commander might also be wearing the combat dress to dodge security force, police and local people. In addition to GPS, Army recovered one AK-47 rifle, four magazines, 94 rounds, four Chinese grenades and large quantity of eatables mostly dry fruits from the possession of slain militant, sources said and added that major consignment was being carried by the militants following their commander. Recovery of dry fruits from the slain militant was also an indication that the militants had planned to set off to some hideouts in Pir Panjal range after infiltration or target the Army and police installations. General Officer Commanding (GOC) 25 Infantry Division, Rajouri and 10 Brigade Commander visited the site of gun battle for on spot assessment of the situation. While lauding the troops for thwarting infiltration attempt and killing top commander of the militant outfit, they called upon the Army jawans to maintain strict surveillance on the LoC and ensure that the militants didn't manage to infiltrate. Senior police and SOG officers also visited the spot. This was first infiltration attempt on the LoC in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch this summer with melting of snow and opening of passes. Troops were already anticipating such attempts following inputs that a number of militants have gathered across LoC and International Border to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir in view of dwindling strength of the militants in the State. 'There were specific inputs that the militants could make more infiltration attempts on the LoC in the coming days. In view of this, troops have been put on very high alert all along the LoC,' sources said.