August 2002 News

Al-Qaeda group sneaks into Surankote

8 August 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Dinesh Manhotra

KRISHNAGATI (Line of Control): As the number of terrorists operating in the Jammu region have been decreasing, Pakistani authorities have started a new trend of infiltrating teen-agers to maintain tempo of the violence. Bullet ridden body of a 13 years old boy, who was among a group of infiltrators eliminated by the troops at Krishna Gati area near the Line of Control (LoC), last night reflects new trend of Pakistan. Still unidentified, this teen-ager was among the seven Pakistani terrorists, who were trapped by the troops near LoC and later eliminated after day long fierce encounter. ''It is for the first time that we have killed a teen-ager infiltrator'', said an officer and admitted that this might be new strategy of Pakistan. Army officers were also surprised that how Pakistani authorities have indoctrinated a teen-ager and motivated him to join the so-called jehad. However, in another startling disclosure, an Army officer informed that a group of Al-Qaeda terrorists has managed to sneak into Indian side to disrupt the forthcoming Assembly elections. ''We have unconfirmed reports that a group of Al-Qaeda terrorists has managed to sneak into this side and they are operating in Surankote area of Poonch'', admitted General Officer Commanding of 25 Infantry Division Major Gen Randhir Singh and aired apprehensions that main aim of that group might be to disrupt forthcoming Assembly elections. He said that Pakistani agencies have settled some Al-Qaeda groups near LoC and attempts were being made repeatedly to push them into this side. Major Gen Singh said that a large number of militants have been kept ready by Pakistani Army to be launched into Jammu and Kashmir. ''There are about 1000 to 1500 militants staying in different militant camps- cum-launching pads run by Pakistan Army to be pushed into Poonch and Rajouri districts,'' he added. Pointing towards recent infiltration attempts, Major General Singh informed that there was a considerable change in the strategy of the terrorists. ''Besides exploring new infiltration routes, Pakistani Army was sending better trained and well equipped terrorists'', he said, adding '' the infiltration is still on and Pakistan has not controlled it at all. The network to spot and push ''Jehadis'' into Jammu and Kashmir was still intact''. The GoC, however asserted '' we are fully prepared and ready all along the LoC to foil Pakistanís designs,''. Defence authorities informed that Pakistani Army has established a new launching pad all along the LoC to step-up infiltration in the coming months. Launching pads have been established at Kahuta, Chirat, Goi, Sensa, Kotli, Nukial, Mirpur, Bindi, Mahana, Garhun, Samani, Kudiali and other areas. Meanwhile troops today eliminated two more infiltrators who had managed to sneak into this side. With this, the toll of slain infiltrators has gone upto seven. ''We have killed seven JeM militants near LoC in Mendhar in Poonch sector after a 20-hour-long gunbattle which ended this afternoon and recovered a large quantity of weaponry. This clearly shows that infiltration has not been stopped by the Pakistan Army,'' Pakistan Army launched these militants last night from Boray Goian area near the LoC into Mendhar with full support and guidance. However, alert troops of Krishnagati Brigade eliminated them after trapping them in a nallah and recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition, Singh, who looks after the operational area of Poonch sector, told reporters. This is the second infiltration bid this month in Mendhar belt. Earlier on August 2, three infiltrators were killed there, Singh said.


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