September 2003 News

Kathua Stand-off Enters Day Five, Little Headway

7 September 2003
The Indian Express

Jammu: The encounter between security forces and about seven insurgents in the dense forests of Ghatti in Kathua entered the fifth day on Saturday without making much progress in countering the militants. The army, however, says it will be able to tire the insurgents out in their rugged hideout. The militants, believed to be Lashkar-e- Toiba (JeM), had stopped firing on Friday morning, but resumed targeting the troops when they started closing in, defence sources said. The encounter, the longest so far, has left one securityman dead and six others and a village defence committee member injured. Officials, quoting militant intercepts, say two of the insurgents are seriously injured in the exchange of fire. Hundreds of army, CRPF and police personnel, who have thrown a cordon around the bushes where the insurgents have been hiding and firing on security forces since Tuesday afternoon, had started advancing towards them after the firing stopped, they said. An Army spokesman in Jammu said the operation was being prolonged to prevent casualties on the troops' side. Another 300 army troops had joined the hunt on Thursday. The encounter began on a tip by a local about the presence of the heavily armed militants, who infiltrated on Monday night. The local was abducted by the ultras but escaped.


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