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Operation Thunder Strike’s big haul
Operation ‘Thunder Strike’, launched by security forces in the beginning of May in the North Kashmir area, has led to recovery of one of the biggest arms and ammunition hauls in the recent past including 22 AK rifles and 100 hand grenades.

General officer Commanding (GoC) Kilo Force Major General N. George described it as one of the biggest haul of arms in a single operation in recent times. “This is one of the biggest arms and ammunition hauls in the state. It was recovered during search operations in Wadar Bala forest area in Handwara of Kupwara district,” Major General George said.

The recoveries included 22 AK rifles, thousands of live rounds, one Rocket Propelled Grenade, one 60 millimetre Mortar, 10 Pistols, three 303 rifles, seven Radio Sets and one Night Vision Goggle besides over 100 grenades, anti-tank mines and other war like stores.

The Operation Thunder Strike was launched by the security forces following intelligence inputs that a large number of militants were in the process of infiltrating into North Kashmir from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Multiple ambushes were laid by the army spread over a large area, spanning the forest areas of entire Baramulla and Kupwara districts along the line of control. “Based on intelligence inputs in early May about infiltration of about 14-22 militants, army carried out deployment of troops in hilly terrain of areas falling on the borderline of Baramulla and Kupwara districts,” Major General George revealed.

In fact, the recovery of the arms and ammunition happened by chance as the troops chasing a splinter group of the infiltrating militants in the Haphruda forests came across a cave-like hideout. Army officials said the weapons and ammunition seized probably did not belong to the infiltrators and were dumped there during the winter months.

“It is not possible that the infiltrating militants had carried such huge quantities of arms and ammunition with them,” observed the officials. Security forces in Kashmir have busted several militant hideouts during the month of May and recovered arms, ammunitions as well as explosives.

During a search operation in Nagarnar forests of Handwara, six mines, 10 fuse mines, two pika belts, four mine chargers, 14 pistol rounds, five AK 47 magazines, three pistol magazines, eight grenades and four stick grenades were recovered. Another hideout was busted in Pampore area of Pulwama district where nearly half a dozen grenades and other explosive material were recovered.

Earlier last month, security forces achieved a major breakthrough by busting a militant hideout and recovered large quantity of arms and ammunition in Kreeri area of Baramulla district. They said during the searches, the security forces chanced upon a hideout where militants had stored large quantities of arms and ammunition in gunny bags and big flower vases.

s The recoveries included 27 UBGL grenades, seven hand grenades, four high explosive bombs, one AK 47 rifle, five AK magazines, 111 AK rounds, two pistols, three pistol magazines and 10 rounds. Two country-made 12 bore guns, three explosive sticks, one Kenwood wireless set, one UBGL launcher, 21 IED connectors, 16 IED circuits, 13 IED transformers, two IED batteries and a dynamo.

Spring in the Valley leads to hot pursuits

The Army and other security agencies in Kashmir were expecting a ‘Hot Summer’ this year in the Valley, in view of the large scale infiltration attempts by militants to cross over to this side from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The temperature seems to be on the rise already with 53 persons including 36 militants being killed in the past three months alone.

Expecting a sharp increase in militant attacks this summer, the security grid in Kashmir launched a series of major pro-active counter-insurgency operations in the Valley and so far have successfully eliminated 36 militants. Eleven of these militants were killed in a two-week operation christened Operation Thunder Strike, in the forests of North Kashmir.

However, the security forces also paid a price as six army personnel including a Major were killed during these operations. Two policemen have also been killed in the last three months in militancy-related violence. The militants have shot dead eight civilians on the suspicion of having links with security forces.
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