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26 detained amid manhunt for terrorists in Kathua | India News – Times of India



JAMMU: At least 26 residents of Machedi-Billawer area in Kathua district in J&K have been detained for questioning in connection with Monday’s fatal ambush on a two-truck military patrol that left five soldiers from 22 Garhwal Rifles dead and five others wounded, officials said Wednesday.
“An NIA team has reached the ambush site and is assisting police in the probe.Army, J&K police, and CRPF personnel are scouring the region’s rugged terrain and forests to capture the terrorists, but no one has been captured or killed yet,” an official said. Heavy rain has made aerial surveillance through drones and helicopters difficult.
Officials have begun piecing together events from the ambush near Badnota village, where over two hours of continuous gunfire occurred before reinforcements arrived. The terrorists, believed to be a group of three, positioned themselves at two spots on a hill and took cover in thick foliage to surprise the troops with grenades and gunshots when the trucks were negotiating a bend on Machedi-Kindli-Malhar road around 3.30pm.
Despite facing heavy gunfire, the soldiers fired incessantly to prevent more casualties and stop the terrorists from seizing their weapons. “The Garhwal regiment soldiers of the Indian Army unleashed a barrage of 5,189 rounds on the terrorists, forcing them to flee the scene,” an official told PTI.
Kashmir Tigers, a shadow group of Pakistan-backed terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), has claimed responsibility for the ambush.
Sources said locals are being questioned on whether they had spotted the terrorists before the ambush or provided any support to them. Authorities have warned people against providing shelter, food, or aiding the terrorists in hiding and navigating the area undetected.
The recent escalation in terrorism-related violence in Jammu has concerned locals in upper reaches, who demanded the strengthening of village defence groups to tackle terrorist threats.
In Doda district, another search is ongoing following a gunfight between security forces and terrorists in Goli Ghadi-Bhagwah forest Tuesday evening. The terrorists escaped, taking advantage of the dense forest and gathering dusk.





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