NEW DELHI: People in Mendhar area of J&K’s Poonch district have been asked to stay indoors, as security forces prepare for a final assault on terrorists hiding in the forested areas nearby. Announcements were made through the public address system in local mosques in Bhatta Durrian and adjoining areas, officials said, asking people to stay indoors. People were asked not to venture into the forest area and keep their livestock at homes. Those who have gone outside were asked to return to their homes along with their animals, officials said. The counter-insurgency operation in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri has now entered the ninth day. Nine security personnel have so far lost their lives in the on-going operation. The entire forest belt is still under tight security cordon to neutralise the terrorists, officials said. The Army has deployed para-commandos and helicopters for surveillance in the challenging terrain. The area is mountainous and the forest is dense, making the operation difficult and dangerous. Eight persons have been detained for questioning from Bhatta Durrian on suspicions of providing logistic support to the terrorists. Traffic between Mendhar and Thanamandi along the Jammu-Rajouri highway remained suspended as a precautionary measure for the fifth day on Tuesday in the wake of the ongoing operation. Army chief visits forward areas of Rajouri, PoonchArmy chief General M M Naravane on Tuesday visited the forward areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir and reviewed the security situation. He was briefed by commanders on the ground about the present situation and the counter-infiltration operations. Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region have witnessed a rise in infiltration attempts since June this year. The current encounter in the Poonch-Rajouri area began last week. Five Army personnel, including a JCO were killed in exchange of fire in the Surankore area of Poonch on October 12. Two jawans were killed on October 14, while bodies of another JCO and a jawan was recovered on Saturday, October 16.

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