THE operation to flush out terrorists hiding in Gadole forest area in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district entered the fifth day on Sunday as security forces widened the area of operation to neighbouring villages and fired several mortar shells towards the forest, officials said. Security forces are using drones and helicopters for surveillance of the dense forest area where terrorists are believed to be holed up since Wednesday after killing two Army officers and a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the initial exchange of fire, the officials said. As the assault resumed on Sunday morning, the security forces fired several mortar shells towards the forest, they said. They said there were several cave-like hideouts in the forest area and drones were being used to pinpoint their locations to carry out attacks on them. Drone footage showed a terrorist running for cover after one such hideout was hit by shells fired by security forces on Friday.
The security cordon has been extended to neighbouring Posh Kreeri area as a precautionary measure to ensure that terrorists don’t slip into civilian habitation, the officials said. The Northern Army commander on Saturday visited the site of the gunfight to take stock of the operational situation. Lt Gen Dwivedi was briefed by the ground commanders on the high-intensity operations, in which hi-tech equipment is being used for surveillance and delivery of firepower, along with the high impact of precision fire being used by the forces. The Northern Army commander inspected the drone which has been used to survey the area and track the terrorists, the officials said.
They said Lt Gen Dwivedi reviewed the operation with senior police and Army officers. He also interacted with troops deployed in the operation, they added. The police believe two to three terrorists are trapped in the forest area as the forces maintained a tight cordon. Additional Director General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar late Friday night said the operation was launched on the basis of specific input and claimed “two to three trapped terrorists will be neutralised.” Colonel Manpreet Singh, Commanding Officer, 19 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Ashish Dhonchak, Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhat and a soldier were killed by the terrorists on Wednesday.