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Poonch military operation: searches continue but group of militants remain elusive

A military operation to trace a group of militants continued in Poonch on Friday as intermittent firing was reported in the dense woods, officials said.

An official said that extensive searches were conducted in the Bhata-Dhuria forest area in Mendhar sub-division of Poonch district after the killing of two soldiers on Thursday evening.

“Firing was reported in the area of operation intermittently,” said a defense official, wishing not to be named.

“Given the fact that the area is tough terrain and it is a forest area, the operation is a deliberate one to avoid casualties.”

He said that it is believed that the militants are hiding in dense woods.

“Soldiers are moving swiftly and will try to zero in on the hiding militants soon,” the officials said.

In the wake of the ongoing operation, authorities have closed the Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch highway from Bhimber Gali to Surankote as a “precautionary measure.”

On Thursday evening, two soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer were killed in the initial exchange of firing at the Bhata-Dhuria forest area of Surankote.

Meanwhile, the officials said that the search operation continued for the fifth consecutive day on Friday at Dera Ki Gali near the border area of Poonch and Rajouri district where five soldiers including a JCO were killed on October 12 in an encounter with militants.

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