KD NEWS SERVICE
JAMMU, Dec 26: Battling difficult terrains and dense forests, security forces continued to carry out cordon and search operations for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday to track down the terrorists behind the ambush that left four soldiers dead in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch last week, officials said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit ground zero on Wednesday with top Army and civilian officials monitoring the situation in Poonch in view of the terrorist attack which was followed by the death of three civilians in the area, official sources said.
Over 30 suspects have been questioned during the past few days and several of them have been released, they said.
“The cordon and search operation is going on to track down the terrorists involved in the ambush on Army vehicles,” a senior official said.
The official said that the operation includes sniffer dogs, surveillance equipment and aerial mechanisms. Additional forces have been deployed to plug seven infiltration routes amid area domination operations in the area, he said.
Operations are being carried out cautiously as there are dense forests, deep gorges and caves, official sources said.
Mobile internet services will remain suspended in Rajouri and Poonch for the fourth day in a row.
The defence minister is likely to visit the area on Wednesday and hold meetings with top commanders on the measures being taken to deal with the situation, they said.
His visit follows Chief of Army staff (CoAS) General Manoj Pande’s visit to ground zero in Poonch on Monday where he reviewed the anti-terrorist operation under way in Surankote and nearby Rajouri district’s Thanamandi forest belt.
General Pande asked security personnel to remain resolute and steadfast against all challenges.
Three civilians picked up by the Army for questioning after the terrorist ambushed two Army vehicles on Thursday at Dhatyar Morh between Dhera Ki Gali and Buffliaz in Poonch were found dead on Friday.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday announced compensation and jobs to the families of the dead civilians and said the medico legal formalities were conducted and legal action on the matter has been initiated.
The Army has ordered a thorough internal investigation into the civilian deaths and said it is committed to extending full support and cooperation in the conduct of the investigation.