Initial investigations into the terrorist attack in Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (April 20), which resulted in the death of five Rashtriya Rifles jawans and left one injured, have revealed the involvement of at least seven members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group.
This marks the fourth such incident in the Poonch-Rajouri area that has resulted in casualties for the Indian Army.
The location of the terrorist attack was approximately 7 kilometers from Bhimber Gali, situated along the Line of Control (LoC) and within the densely forested region on the Indian side of the LoC. Prior to the attack, there were credible intelligence inputs confirming the presence of terrorists from Pakistan in the area.
Also Read: 5 soldiers killed as terrorists attack Army vehicle in J&K’s Poonch
Police and security forces suspect the terrorists had set up an ambush. The road where the attack occurred is flanked by hills covered in thick forests on one side and a deep gorge on the other. Based on the pattern of bullet impacts on the vehicle and fuel tank, sources suggest that the terrorists likely positioned themselves in the forests on the hillside and the gorge on the other side of the road.
Sources have also reported that three or four terrorists fired 7.62 mm steel core bullets during the attack. The sources shared this information a day after the attack took place. It is noteworthy that the ammunition used were capable of penetrating bulletproof armour.
As per the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s initial findings, the terrorists also used rocket-propelled grenades to attack the Rashtriya Rifles jawans travelling in the truck. However, it is still unclear whether the truck caught fire due to a direct RPG hit or if it was set ablaze by the terrorists after the troops were killed.
Also Read: Attack on army vehicle in Poonch: Massive search ops underway to trace terrorists
According to some reports, the Bata-Doriya area where the attack took place has been sealed off, and security forces of the 16 Corps and J&K police are conducting search operations with the help of drones and sniffer dogs to track down the terrorists responsible for the attack. The security personnel are reportedly combing the area thoroughly in an effort to locate any clues or leads that could aid in the identification and capture of the terrorists.
The Additional Director General of Police in Jammu, Mukesh Singh, along with DIG Rajouri-Poonch range, Dr Haseeb Mughal, and other senior police officials from both Rajouri and Poonch districts, visited the site of the attack. The Director General of Police, Dilbagh Singh, and officials from the National Investigation Agency are also visiting the location later in the day.
The Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, expressed his distress at the loss of the courageous soldiers’ lives and conveyed his condolences to the grieving families in a tweet.
Anguished by the tragedy in Poonch District (J&K), where the Indian Army has lost its brave soldiers after a truck caught fire. In this tragic hour, my thoughts are with the bereaved families.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) April 20, 2023
According to a high-ranking official in Jammu and Kashmir, the terrorist attack was intentionally orchestrated by the Pakistani deep state with the aim of inciting violence in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. The official also suggested that the attack was meant to create a sense of fear among the attendees of the upcoming G20 event in Srinagar.