The Indian Army lost five commandos in an “intense hand to hand battle” with five terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on Monday.
“Four soldiers under the command of a Junior Commissioned Officer from one of the most professional Para Special Forces Units were air dropped near the LoC after information on the infiltrators was received. An intense hand to hand battle ensued and all five terrorists were eliminated. In this battle, however, Army lost five of its best soldiers, three on the site and two more succumbed while they were airlifted to a nearby military hospital,” the Indian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on April 6.
The operation to intercept the infiltrators began on 1 April when patrolling troops reported footprints near the LoC fence that was covered under snow, an Indian Army officer told Livemint.
Difficult terrain and heavy snow prevented deployed search teams to operate effectively.
“Based on visuals from drones, commandos from 4 Para (SF) were then ferried to the nearest battalion headquarters by air as the location was cut off due to heavy snow in the area,” the officer explained.
In the early hours of Sunday, the five commandos began following footmarks in the snow and several hours later reached a water channel. The commandos split up into two groups with one of them not realizing that they were on a cornice.
“The complete snow block collapsed taking the squad leader and the two scouts down all the way to the channel where the terrorists were sitting... It led to a close-quarter battle at virtually point blank range," the officer said.
The two commandos in the second group rushed to provide support to their colleagues who were locked in an intense close-quarter fight with the terrorists. In the ensuing engagement, the five commandos were successful in killing all the infiltrators, the officer added.