JAMMU: After a lull of two days, fresh exchange of heavy firing was reported on Friday between security forces on search operation and a group of heavily armed terrorists hiding in the forested area of Bhata Dhurian of Mendhar Sub Division in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. “The exchange of fire took place early morning and is intermittently in progress,” official sources said. They said that during the search operation in Bhata Durian forest by security forces, two small boxes were spotted. The boxes were suspected to be IEDs and were destroyed in situ. “The joint team of security forces comprising Army, Police, Special Operation Group (SOG) and Paramilitary troops have cordoned the area of dense Nar Khas forests in Bhata Dhurian for the last 12 days. Hundreds of troops are engaged in the gunfight,” sources said, adding that the cordon and search operation (CASO) is underway. “Heavy intermittent firing, which started on Friday, resumed on Day 12 of ongoing gunfight, and sound of explosions could also be heard now and then,” local reports added. Army spokesperson said, “Security forces destroyed two explosive materials found planted at an encounter site in Bhata Dhurian. Both devices were found planted by terrorists in Nar forests Bhata Dhurian and were recovered by forces during combing operation. Both devices have been destroyed in-situ,” said an army spokesperson. “In view of this search operation, the highway from Bhimber Gali to Jada Wali Gali has been closed for vehicular movement,” said SSP Poonch. He said those traveling from Jammu to Poonch or from Rajouri to Poonch have been asked to follow the Dera Ki Gali route as the Bhimber Gali-Poonch road is under CASO. “Students appearing for competitive exams are also advised to follow the same route,” the police said in a message. Army Chief General M M Naravane also visited forward areas in Poonch and Rajouri districts and reviewed the overall security situation on Tuesday morning. On Oct 21, the Army detained one youth namely Mohammad Jameel, 24, son of Mohammad Aalam, a resident of Dargaloon for allegedly taking pictures of vital installations at Chack Post in Bhimber Gali area of Mendhar tehsil in Poonch district. The Army later handed over the youth to Gursai Police Station for questioning and to examine his mobile. One Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was also defused by the Army in Sawlakote forests of Poonch on Thursday. Till now eight people have been detained for allegedly providing logistics support to the terrorists. Nine Army soldiers including two Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) have been martyred in Chamrer forests of Surankote and Bhatta Durrian of Mendhar during the operations that began in the Rajouri-Poonch border districts on October 11.

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