Five soldiers were killed and an officer was injured in an IED blast allegedly triggered by militants in Kandi area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Friday where an operation was underway to flush out terrorists.
The development comes a day after an army chopper crashed in Jammu’s Kishtwar district, killing an aviation technician and injuring two army pilots.
Officials said militants on Friday blew up an IED (improvised explosive device) as the soldiers were zeroing in on a cave where they were hiding, killing two jawans and injuring four others.
The injured were airlifted to the command hospital in Udhampur where three of them succumbed to their wounds. The fourth injured officer is battling for his life.
The slain soldiers have been identified as Lance Naik Ruchin Singh Rawat from Uttrakhand, Paratrooper Siddhant Chettri from Darjeeling in Bengal, Naik Arvind Kumar from Kangra in Himachal, Havaldar Neelam Singh from Jammu and Paratrooper Pramod Negi from Sirmaur in Himachal.
“Based on specific information about the presence of terrorists in the Kandi forest in the Rajouri sector, a joint operation was launched on May 3. At about 7.30am onMay 5, a search team established contact with a group of terrorists well entrenched in a cave.
“The terrorists triggered an explosive device in retaliation,” a defence spokesman in Jammu said.
The deaths come at a time Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is in Goa to address the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting where he called upon the group to collectively eradicate the “menace of terrorism” and “not get caught up in weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point-scoring”.