NIA dispatches team to assist J-K police in Kathua terror attack probe

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) The National Investigation Agency will assist the Jammu and Kashmir police in its probe into a terrorist attack on an Army convoy in Kathua that left five personnel dead and as many injured, officials said on Tuesday.

A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials has been sent to Kathua in Jammu region to extend all possible support to the police in its investigation, they said and made it clear that the probe agency has not registered a case to investigate the terrorist attack.

Five Army personnel, including a junior commissioned officer, were killed, and as many were injured when a group of heavily armed terrorists ambushed a patrolling party on the rugged Machedi-Kindli-Malhar mountainous road near the Badnota village in Lohai Malhar, approximately 150 km from the Kathua district's headquarters.

It was the fifth terror attack in the Jammu region within a month.

A massive search operation was underway on Tuesday to track down the terrorists behind the attack. Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief R R Swain flew to the area to oversee the operation on the ground as well.

The scope of the search operation has been expanded to encompass large areas in the adjoining districts of Udhampur and Kathua, including Basantgarh, Seoj (a high-altitude area in Udhampur), and the upper reaches of Bani, Daggar, and Kindli in Kathua district.

Special forces of the Indian Army's 'Para' unit have been deployed to conduct surgical operations against the terrorists in specific areas, the officials said.

President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday termed the terrorist attack as a "cowardly act" and said it deserved condemnation, besides firm counter-measures. PTI AKV AKV NSD NSD

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