Jammu, September 18, 2016
At least 17 soldiers were killed when a group of heavily armed terrorists attacked an army administrative base at Uri in Jammu & Kashmir in the early hours of Sunday, official sources said.
17 soldiers, 4 militants killed in Uri terror attack
At least 17 soldiers were killed when a group of heavily armed terrorists attacked an army administrative base at Uri in Jammu & Kashmir in the early hours of today, official sources said.
An official statement from the Army said that, in the counter action, four terrorists had been eliminated and combing operations were in progress.
The terrorists struck the rear administrative base of the unit, located at Uri, in Baramulla district, near the Line of Control, around 5.30 am today.
"The administrative base had large strength of troops 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 added.
In January this year, six terrorists had attacked the high security Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab, in which seven defence personnel had died. All six terrorists were neutralised in an operation that lasted nearly three days.
Briefing newspersons in New Delhi about the attack, Lt General Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), said that the firefight between the terrorists and Army Personnel continued till approximately 0830 hours, during which four terrorists were killed.
"All four killed were foreign terrorists and had some items with them which had Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed tanzeem. Four AK-47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers along with a large number of other war like stores were recovered from them," he said.
Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh said the terrorists fired incendiary ammunition along with automatic fire of small arms that led to army tents and temporary shelters catching fire.
The tents located in the complex were to house additional troops inducted due to routine turnover of units.
"There have been a total of 17 Army fatal casualties. Of these, 13 - 14 casualties have been due to these tents/ shelters having caught fire," he said.
The DGMO said the operation for clearance of the area was still in progress and a very deliberate search was being carried out of the entire area around the military complex in Uri. As such, complete details of the operation are not yet available.
"However, the operation is being carried out by the Indian Army in a very professional manner and the Army personnel have displayed exceptionally high standards of courage and gallantry while neutralizing the terrorists," he said.
Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh said that ,since the terrorists had some items with Pakistani markings, he had spoken to his Pakistani counterpart and conveyed India's serious concerns on the incident.
"I would also like to mention that all the intelligence agencies are working in close synergy with the security forces and regular intelligence inputs are received from concerned agencies and necessary action is being taken accordingly," he said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Dalbir Singh visited Jammu & Kashmir today to take stock of the ongoing operations and review the overall security situation in the state.
They were briefed by the Northern Army and Chinar Corps Commanders Lt Gen DS Hooda and Lt Gen Satish Dua respectively at Srinagar on the Uri attack and the operation launched to neutralise the terrorists.
While three of the four heavily armed terrorists were eliminated within the initial fifteen minutes of establishing contact, the fourth was neutralized later, they were told.
The Defence Minister was briefed about the security grid along the Line of Control (LoC) and the hinterland also covering the deployment of the additional forces that have been recently inducted into the Valley. The need for heightened vigil both on the LoC and hinterland and to remain prepared for any eventuality was stressed upon.
"There have been a number of infiltration attempts that the Army has foiled recently. It may be recalled that in the last one week itself, three such attempts were foiled in Kupwara sector when four terrorists were killed and another group of four terrorists was eliminated in Poonch," an official press release said.
On being briefed about the internal security situation in the hinterland, the Army Chief reiterated the importance of complete synergy amongst all security, intelligence and other government agencies to ensure calm and prevent the terrorists and other inimical forces from moving with impunity and intimidating the populace.
Earlier, the Army Chief also visited Uri to get a first hand account where he was briefed on the latest situation by the Commanders on ground. The Defence Minister and Army Chief later met the injured at the Army Base Hospital in BB Cantonment.
Saluting the martyrs, they expressed their deep grief and condolences over the loss and wished speedy recovery to the injured. The Defence Minister has directed that the mortal remains of all the martyrs would be transported directly to their respective hometowns for which arrangements are being made, the release added.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was due to leave tomorrow on a trip to Russia and the United States, postponed the trip and convened a meeting of top officials here to take stock of the situation.
"Spoke to Governor & CM of Jammu & Kashmir regarding the terror attack in Uri. They have apprised me of the security situation in the state," Mr. Rajnath Singh said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
He said he had given instructions to the Home Secretary and other senior officers in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to closely monitor the situation in Jammu & Kashmir.
"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 USA," he said.