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Handwara Encounter: 5 Indian Army Soldiers Including Col, Major Killed In Handwara, North Kashmir Gunfight

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In the Handwara Encounter, in Kupwara, North Kashmir, 5 Indian Army personnel including a Colonel, Major of 21 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit along with 2 Army soldiers and one Jammu and Kashmir Police sub-inspector lost their lives.

Both the terrorists were also killed.

According to sources, Colonel Ashutosh Sharma (21 RR), Major Anuj Sood (21 RR), a Lance Naik Dinesh (21 RR), Nail Rajesh (21 RR) and police sub-inspector Shakeel Qazi were killed in the Handwara encounter raging since Saturday. Their bodies have been recovered from the encounter site.

 

According to reports, the Indian Army carried out a decisive onslaught in the early morning to neutralize the militants hiding in the area. Re-enforcements were brought in and door-to-door checks were conducted.

As per reports – “based on the intelligence received by the security forces, the terrorists were attempting to take civilians of a house in Changimulla, Handwara hostage and a joint operation was launched by the Indian Army and Jammu & Kashmir Police.

The security forces reportedly barged-in the house to evacuate the civilians and managed to free them, successfully.  “However, during the process, the security forces came under heavy fire from the hiding terrorists.

In the ensuing gunfight, two terrorists were neutralized and the team of five army and JK personnel, comprising two Army officers, two Army soldiers and one JK Police Sub Inspector, attained martyrdom,” the official statement from the army said.

Indian defence minister – Rajnath Singh condemned the attack and tweeted: The loss of our soldiers and security personnel in Handwara(J&K) is deeply disturbing and painful. They showed exemplary courage in their fight against the terrorists and made supreme sacrifice while serving the country. We will never forget their bravery and sacrifice.

Handwara Encounter: Initial Reports

Earlier, the Indian security forces were engaged in an hours-long firefight with militants caged in a house in north Kashmir’s Handwara, presuming the gunmen to be Pakistani terrorists who recently infiltrated into the region.

According to unnamed officials and initial reports, about four terrorists were believed to be involved in the Handwara encounter that began around 3:30 pm in Chanjmulla area of Handwara, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Two senior army officers, a J&K police official from SOG, and a soldier were close to the site of the encounter, news agency PTI initially reported. According to the sources, a hunt was undertaken to trace the missing personnel, while the operation to neutralise the militants was also on, PTI reported.

The encounter began in the afternoon after Army and J&K police launched a joint operation in the forests of Rajwar following a tip-off about the presence of militants in the area. The militants emerged and hid inside a house.

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Pakistan Army Ambushed in Balochistan, Upto 20 Soldiers Reportedly Killed

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security forces were patrolling near Gichak valley in the Panjgur district of Balochistan when they came under attack. 

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Three soldiers of Pakistan Army were killed and eight others, including an officer, were injured in an ambush on their convoy near Gichak valley in Balochistan’s Panjgur district on Tuesday. The Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement issued after the ambush, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security forces were patrolling near Gichak valley in the Panjgur district of Balochistan when they came under attack.

“Three soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom] while eight soldiers received injuries, including an officer. Five injured are critical,” the ISPR said. The injured soldiers were shifted to Combined Military Hospital in Quetta where 5 remain in critical condition.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that the attack was a “condemnable act of terrorism”.

Senate Deputy Chairperson Saleem Mandviwala condemned the firing on security forces’ patrolling party in Balochistan, saying it was a plot to harm peace in Pakistan. “The entire nation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the armed forces,” Mandviwala said. “Our soldiers have made many sacrifices to help establish peace in the country.”

Counter Claims

Contrary to Pakistani media claims, other news outlets report that the casualty figures are higher. In its report, Al Jazeera said that 8 Pakistani Army soldiers were killed in the ambush attack in Balochistan.

The BLF claimed responsibility for the attack and said that 20 soldiers had been eliminated. BLF spokesman Major Gwahram Baloch said that this morning Sarmachaars attacked a convoy of five vehicles of Pakistan Army in Gichk area of Panjgoor district.

At Mok-e-Kandag, Sarmachaars ambushed the occupying forces with rockets and automatic heavy weapons. The attack damaged all five vehicles and killed more than 20 personnel, including an officer on board.  The BLF has vowed not to stop the attacks until Balochistan attains independence.

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Azerbaijani General, 15 Others Killed In Azerbaijan-Armenia Border Clash

Azerbaijan-Armenia Border Clash conflict commenced on Sunday and Azerbaijan said it has lost 11 soldiers and one civilian while Armenia acknowledged the loss of four troops.

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Azerbaijani Army Major-General Polad Gashimov and Colonel Ilgar Mirzoyev were killed in border clashes between soldiers of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Azerbaijan’s APA news agency reported on Tuesday.

“Major-General Polad Gashimov and colonel Ilgar Mirzoyev died heroically in the morning battles,” the news agency quoted the deputy defense minister as saying. Azerbaijan’s state news agency AzerTAc also confirmed this information.

There are reports that at least 16 people, including the army general, have been killed in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan forces in the worst border clashes in years. Conflicts on the volatile border between the two neighbours commenced on Sunday and Azerbaijan said it has lost 11 soldiers and one civilian while Armenia acknowledged the loss of four troops.

Azerbaijanis gathered early Wednesday in front of the National Assembly building in the capital demanding that they be mobilized amid clashes with Armenian forces on the frontier.

Thousands of Azerbaijanis marched in the streets of Baku to protest against the occupation of Upper Karabakh by Armenia and attacks by its forces since Sunday on border positions of the Azerbaijani army which have resulted in casualties.

Azerbaijanis living in Baku and surrounding areas formed a cortege in the streets of the city in the evening. Holding Azerbaijani flags and chanting “Karabakh is ours, and will remain ours,” they gathered in front of the country’s parliament building, where they demanded the government to declare a mobilization as they are ready to go to the frontlines and protect their motherland.

On Sunday, Armenian forces, as per their media reports, violated an ongoing ceasefire and targeted positions of Azerbaijan’s army in northwestern Tovuz district along the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, resulting in casualties. Azerbaijan’s armed response forced the Armenian army to retreat, suffering losses.

As a result, an Azerbaijani civilian was killed in artillery fire in Aghdam village in Tovuz. “Targeting Azerbaijani civilians with heavy guns is clear proof of fascism and barbarism. This is part of the occupation policy of Armenia.

The Armenian side has purposefully killed Azerbaijani civilians before, thus committing acts of crime against humanity,” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. A total of 11 Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed, including high-ranking officers, and another four wounded in fighting with Armenian forces since Sunday.

Nearly 100 Armenian soldiers have been killed during the period, according to Kerim Veliyev, Azerbaijan’s deputy defense minister. Azerbaijan earlier stated that Armenia hides its casualties.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Armenian attack, adding that Turkey will not hesitate to stand against any kind of attacks against Azerbaijan. Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, has been illegally occupied since 1991 through Armenian military aggression.

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as decisions by many international organizations refer to this fact and demand the withdrawal of the occupational Armenian forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.

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India Committed to Funding, Building Chabahar Railway Project In Iran – Indian Officials

TOI quoting senior officials at the Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said, “India is committed to building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

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On the recent reports that Iran had sidelined India from the Chabahar port railway project, New Delhi has contradicted Iran’s assertions that it is out of the Chabahar-Zahedan rail project.

Iran-India Chabahar Port Deal: Iran Kicks-Out India from Chabahar Rail Project citing funding delays

Senior Indian officials saying that New Delhi remained “committed” to financing and building the railway which is a vital part of the Chabahar port project, reports the Times of India.

TOI quoting senior officials at the Indian embassy in the Iranian capital said, “India is committed to building the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line and is continuously engaged with Iranian authorities concerned to take this important project forward.”

US Troops Withdraw From Five Bases in Afghanistan As Part Of Peace Deal With Taliban – Officials

The Iranian government source according to the reports explained – It was anticipated that besides investment in the Chabahar Port, New Delhi could also play a significant role in financing and building this vital transit route from Chabahar to Zahedan and from Zahedan to Sarakhs at the border with Turkmenistan which in the absence of active Indian engagement & funding is being developed by Iran.

US exasperated over Iran-China $400 billion pact

The Zahedan railway project reportedly has two elements — the ‘sub-structure’ which is earth-moving and making the ground for the tracks and the ‘super-structure’ which comprises the tracks and rakes. Tehran is responsible for the first part while New Delhi for the rest. However, the Indian part needs steel which is presently under US sanctions, and this has caused a delay, states the TOI report.

The port, however, is doing exhilarating business and has been shielded from US sanctions purely by Indian diplomacy.

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