Five terrorists and five soldiers were killed as the Army foiled an infiltration bid by terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district

Inclement weather, eight-foot-deep snow and low visibility could not deter a five-member Army squad from countering a new group of five infiltrated terrorists in the higher reaches of north Kashmir and killing all of them, before sacrificing their lives.

The five-day pursuit began on April 1 when a group a of terrorists tried to infiltrate into Kupwara in North Kashmir. This was followed by a game of hide-and-seek with frequent gun battles in heavy snow before the 5 terrorists were killed.

While the five terrorists were killed, the Indian Army also lost five brave men who battled extreme weather as the area was submerged in snow and the heavily-armed terrorists who had crossed over from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK).

On April 1, footprints were noticed near the fence buried in snow at the Line of Control.

The areas are completely rigged with razor-sharp ridgeline. All routes are cut off due to high snow levels, said an army source. It had been snowing for the last few days and terrorists attempted to exploit the tough weather conditions.

Sources said that on April 1, search parties were out and finally contact was established with a brief exchange of fire at around 13.

This is when the army realised that the terrorists are waiting to launch an attack and additional troops were deployed immediately.

The next morning on April 2, searches were carried out and finally contact was established at 1630 hrs but the terrorists managed to escape.

A similar pattern followed on April 3 and April 4. It was literally a cat and mouse game as terrorists continued to give security forces a slip.

Using drones, the army made attempt to zero-in on the location of the infiltrators and finally in the early hours of April 5, special forces were airdropped to flush out the hiding terrorists.

Based on visuals from UAV, special troops staged forward to the nearest Battalion HQ by air as the battalion is still cut off due to the winter, said an army source.

The brave men of the special forces had everything under control till they fell off a snow-covered mountain ledge that peeled off landing them in a nullah. They were at an eyeball-to-eyeball contact with the terrorists and both sides fired at each other.

"It was a firefight at virtually point-range," said an official explaining the situation.

In spite of the fall, all five terrorists were killed. However, the complete squad, all five were also killed in action after showing valour, said an army officer.

The bodies of the soldiers and terrorists were found within 2-3 metres of each other.

The brave hearts killed in action were Subedar Sanjeev Kumar from Himachal Pradesh, Havaldar Davendra Singh from Uttarakhand, Sepoy Bal Krishan from Himachal Pradesh, Sepoy Amit Kumar from Uttarakhand and Sepoy Chhatrapal Singh from Rajasthan.

The Subedar was dead during the intense gunfight while the four others succumbed either on way to hospital or at the 92-base hospital, they said.

The squad of 4-Para regiment, living up to its war cry of "Balidaan Parma Dharam" (sacrifice is the ultimate duty), successfully carried out the operation.

A huge quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of the encounter besides communication sets which were being analysed, they added.

A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the headquarters of XV Corps where Lieutenant General BS Raju gave glowing tributes to the brave soldiers. Later their mortal remains were dispatched to their respective homes in an Indian Air Force plane.

"Indian Army salutes the brave hearts killed in action and shall continue to protect its borders from inimical forces at all costs at all times," the spokesperson said.