Soldier killed, four injured in militant attack on IAF convoy in Poonch

JAMMU — One soldier was killed and four were injured as militants ambushed an Indian Air Force (IAF) convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Saturday.

Officials said five security personnel were injured, two of them critically, when four militants opened fire on IAF vehicles moving towards Sanai Top in Poonch’s Surankot area in the evening.

One of the critically injured soldiers later succumbed at a military hospital during treatment, they said.

“An Indian Air Force vehicle convoy was attacked by militants in the Poonch district of J&K, near Shahsitar. Cordon and search operations are underway presently in the area by local military units. The convoy has been secured, and further investigation is under progress,” the IAF said in a post on X.

“In the ensuing gunfight with militants, the Air Warriors fought back by returning fire. In the process, five IAF personnel received bullet injuries, and were evacuated to the nearest military hospital for immediate medical attention. One Air Warrior succumbed to his injuries later. Further operations are on by the local security forces,” it said in another post.

The militant attack took place around 6:15 pm when the troops were returning to the air force station from Jaranwali.

The officials suspect the involvement of the same group of militants who ambushed troops in adjoining Bufliaz on December 21 last year, leaving four soldiers dead and three injured.

One of the trucks in the IAF convoy bore the maximum brunt of the attack with several bullets hitting its windscreen and side. The militants, who were armed with AK assault rifles, are believed to have fled into the nearby forests, the officials said.

Reinforcements from the Army and police have been rushed to the area and a massive search and cordon operation has been launched to track down and neutralise the militants, they said, adding that there has been no contact with the fleeing militants so far.

Police assisted by paramilitary forces had been carrying out searches in Poonch town since Friday following inputs about the movement of suspected persons. However, no one was arrested during the operation, the officials said.

The border district of Poonch along with adjoining Rajouri has witnessed some major militant attacks over the past two years, signalling the return of militant activities to the region, which was once cleared of militancy and remained peaceful between 2003 and 2021. — (PTI)