17 jawans martyred in a terror attack in Uri

Srinagar, Sep 18 (PTI) In one of the deadliest attacks on the Army in recent years, 17 jawans were martyred and 19 others injured as heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the force in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours today.

Four militants involved in the terror strike were killed by the Army.

Explosions and gunfire erupted as the militants attacked the camp, which is located barely few metres away from the Army’s Brigade Headquarters in Uri town, 102 kms from here, around 4 AM, official sources said.

The jawans of the Dogra Regiment were sleeping in a tent which caught fire due the explosion. The fire also engulfed the nearby barracks, the sources said.

It is believed that the attack was the handiwork of a group of freshly infiltrated militants who could have entered from an area along the Salamabad Nallah, the sources said.

17 jawans were martyred in the terror attack, the Northern Command of the Army said. Nineteen other personnel were injured in the strike in which four militants were killed.

Defence sources said that this is one of the deadliest attacks on the Army in recent years. In January, seven military personnel were killed when six terrorists attacked the Pathankot air base.

The attack comes two years after militants had carried out a similar type of attack at Mohra in the same area. Ten security personnel were killed in the attack that took place on December 5, 2014.

Giving details of the attack, the Army said in a statement, “A group of heavily armed terrorists targeted the rear administrative base of a unit at Uri, Kashmir. In the counter action, four terrorists have been eliminated and combing operations are in progress”

“The administrative base had large strength of troops of units turning over after their tour of duty who were stationed in tents/temporary shelters which caught fire, and resulted in heavy casualties. We salute the sacrifice of 17 soldiers who were martyred in the operation,” the statement said.

Helicopters from the Army’s 19 divisional headquarters in Baramulla have been pressed into service and the injured Army personnel have been evacuated from the encounter site, the sources said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag are rushing to Kashmir in the wake of terror attack in Uri.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the terror attack

The Home Minister has postponed his scheduled visit to Russia and the United States in the wake of the attack in Uri and the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh also spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the situation arising out of the terror strike in Uri.

“Keeping the situation of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and in the wake of terror attack in Uri, I have postponed my visits to Russia and the US,” he said in a statement here.

The Home Minister said he has spoken to Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister and discussed with them the situation arising out of attack on a Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri and both of them apprised him of the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I have given instructions to Home Secretary (Rajiv Mehrishi) and other officers in the Home Ministry to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Home Minister also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the attack on the Brigade Headquarters in Uri.