"Indian Army has eliminated four heavily-armed terrorists close to Kathar village in Arnia sector in Jammu region. The terrorists had possibly infiltrated from across IB on the night of November 26/27," said Defence PRO, Lt Col Manish Mehta.

Mehta said that after crossing the IB, the terrorists had changed into military fatigues and the civilian clothes worn by them earlier were recovered from near a culvert which lies about 1.5-km inside Indian territory.

"Thereafter, they gunned down five civilians and attempted to hijack a white Maruti 800 car," Mehta said.

The terrorists were challenged by Indian troops at about 8 am on November 27, he said, adding that quick reaction teams immediately set up an initial cordon even as additional troops were rushed to deal with the situation.

In the ensuing firefight, three terrorists were killed and a tight cordon was maintained in the area on the night of November 27. A search operation was taken up at first light on November 28 and, after a heavy engagement, the fourth terrorist was killed by army.

Three army personnel were also killed in the operation with a total of 12 casualties having occurred in the attack which took place on Thursday, he said.

Mehta said that four AK-47 rifles and a large quantity of AK ammunition, one pistol, one IED, one disposable rocket launcher and two spent disposable rocket launcher cases, three radio sets, hand grenades and food items were recovered from the slain terrorists.

Timely action by army had helped avert a likely terrorist action in the hinterland, he said, adding that the area continues to be  sanitised by security forces.

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