Rajouri: The Indian Army said on Wednesday that terrorists have been trying to move towards forested areas owing to high intensity of operations by the Indian Army, Paramilitary Forces (PMF) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP).

Based on intelligence inputs being received since the last operation on September 4, wherein one terrorist was neutralised, large-scale operations have been in progress in the region to keep the terrorists on the run.

Multiple columns from the Indian Army, JKP and PMF were mobilised to cover the areas where the sighting of terrorists was being informed by villagers. Braving inclement weather conditions and due to relentless domination, security forces continued to remain on the trail of the terrorists.

On September 7, input was received about two unidentified individuals with bags in the general area of Mathiyani Gala in Rajouri district. Based on this input domination plan and intelligence operations were launched jointly by the Indian Army, JKP and other intelligence agencies.

Sector Commander Brigadier Shomit Patnayak said, "On September 7, we got information about the terrorist movement and we launched an operation. We planned a joint operation and on September 11, we got a contact with them. They tried to run away in Jungle, Special forces were also deployed. On September 12 we started the operation and we used tracker dogs. Our army dog Kent and his handler were leading, we got a blood trail. At 15:15 a terrorist opened fire in which Kent and his handler got injured. We engaged them immediately. Our One Jawan Ravi Kumar and Kent lost their life and three were injured."

On September 11, two unidentified individuals with bags were again spotted by the patrol in the jungle at 1830 hours. The individuals on being challenged, taking advantage of poor visibility compounded with adverse weather conditions started running. On visual confirmation of weapon with them, own party fired on them and it is likely that one of them got injured. The joint cordon of the area was done along with JKP and night-enabled surveillance devices were pressed into service to deny any escape of the terrorists.

Early on 12 Sep 2023 during the search of the area, a bag left behind by the terrorists was found which contained Pakistan marking medicines among other things. Army Dog Kent was employed and the trail of the terrorists was followed for some distance. However, owing to rain and moisture, the trail was lost.

Parties continued in the general direction and after some distance, some blood was noticed. Army Dog Kent was again employed and she picked up this trail and the party started closing in. Seeing the party moving closer the terrorists hiding in the thick overgrowth opened fire at point-blank range at around 1515 hours. The initial fire hit Kent, her handler and another soldier covering the move.

The party continued to close in undeterred to prevent the terrorists from escaping. In the ensuing heavy firefight, displaying exceptional courage, the troops successfully neutralised one terrorist. Simultaneously, another party in close vicinity was also fired upon.

In the operation so far, Army Dog Kent was fatal, while three other soldiers and a Special Police Officer (SPO) were injured. The casualty evacuation of soldiers was done, however, since the terrorist fire was going on, the body of Kent could not be retrieved.

Later, one of the three soldiers succumbed to his injuries. The other two soldiers and a Police SPO were evacuated to the Military Hospital. As darkness set in and visibility started reducing with heavy rains, the cordon was again tightened to prevent the second terrorist from escaping. Firefight continued throughout the night to ensure terrorists do not get away.

On September 13 at around 1000 hours, the second terrorist was spotted and firefight commenced, during which another soldier was injured. Finally, at around 1130 hours, the second terrorist was neutralised.

Due to the thick undergrowth further move was done deliberately. In the operations, two likely foreign terrorists along with two AK Series Rifles and packs with administrative and logistic stores were recovered.