Terror attack on IAF convoy in J&K: LeT”s Sajid Jutt suspected to be mastermind

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Srinagar: (CNI)In ongoing search operations in the border areas of Rajouri and Poonch districts in Jammu and Kashmir, security forces are intensifying efforts to eliminate terrorists following the ambush on an IAF convoy.


Investigations indicate that the orchestrator behind the deadly attack is Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Habibullah Malik, also known as Sajid Jutt, originally from Kasur district in Pakistan’s Punjab province.


Earlier this year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had filed a supplementary charge sheet against Jutt for conspiring to unleash terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, including Rajouri and Poonch districts.


Five India Air Force (IAF) personnel were injured after terrorists ambushed their convoy near Shahsitar in Poonch on Saturday. They were evacuated to the Command Hospital in Udhampur, where one of them, Corporal Vikky Pahade, died of injuries.


Sources said the truck which was targeted by the terrorists was the last of three vehicles moving from Jaranwalli Gali to Shahistar Top where the IAF has a base. “The terrorists, who had taken positions atop the hills along the road, opened indiscriminate fire on the third vehicle after the first two vehicles passed,” they said.


Besides AK assault rifles, the terrorists also used a US-made M4 carbine and steel bullets to cause maximum casualties, the sources added.


Teams of the Army’s Para Commandos have been pressed into service in the search operations, officials said. There has been no “contact” with the terrorists yet while several suspects have been detained for questioning in connection with the attack, the first major incident in Jammu region this year.


Terrorists have carried a series of ambushes on the security forces since 2021 in Rajouri and Poonch also known as Pir Panjal range.


A group of 12-18 heavily armed and highly trained terrorists operating in three to four groups were functional in the region, who are also experts in setting up ambushes, sources said. Jutt has emerged as the main handler of these terror groups.


Terrorists seem to have shifted their focus from Kashmir valley to Rajouri and Poonch, where dense forests and mountainous landscapes provide them ample cover.


These forests give terrorists more strategic depth, as opposed to the populated areas of Kashmir, as is evidenced by a slew of ambushes and encounters, where ultras kept the army engaged for days and have often managed to slip away.


Out of the 134 militancy-related killings in 2023, the Pir Panjal region accounted for 53 deaths, which is roughly 40 per cent. Of the 53 people killed in the twin border districts, 19 were army personnel, including a few officers.(CNI)

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