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J&K: Same militants suspected as 2 more Armymen killed in Poonch

A Junior Commissioned Officer and a jawan were killed in Mendhar area of Jammu’s border district of Poonch in a fierce gunfight between militants and Army troops that was still on late Thursday night. Sources said the militants were suspected to be part of the same group which killed five Army soldiers in an encounter on Monday in the district.

Monday’s encounter, along the Mughal Road linking Poonch to Shopian in south Kashmir, was the worst in the area in 17 years. Security forces had launched a massive search following the encounter, and it was during combing operations in Bhata Durian forests, adjoining the area of Monday’s encounter, that Armymen came under fire from militants.

The soldiers killed in Thursday’s encounter were yet to be identified. This was the first contact of the security forces with the militants since Tuesday, when there was an exchange of fire for around 15 minutes.

With the encounter still on, vehicular traffic between Bhimber Gali and Surankote along the Rajouri-Poonch national highway has been suspended. More reinforcements have been rushed to the area.

Officials earlier said the militants, believed to number around four-five, could be part of a group that infiltrated into the Union Territory from across the Line of Control in August, and were on their way to Shopian. They were intercepted by police and security forces in the Pangai area of Rajouri district along the Mughal Road. While two militants were killed on August 6, another was shot on August 19.

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