Pak cross-border raid kills 2 jawans

FP

In a cross-border raid in Poonch's Mendhar region, alleged Pakistan Army regulars targeted an Indian Army patrol under the cover of fog on Tuesday morning, killing two soldiers and beheading one of them. They are believed to have carried back the head with them.

Two soldiers were seriously injured in the attack that happened well within Indian side.

The Ministry of Defence called the incident a "provocative action". In a statement, the ministry said: "The government of India considers the incident a provocative action and we condemn it... The government will take up the incident with the Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly."

The attack appears to have been in retaliation to the killing of a Pakistan Army soldier on Sunday in the Haji Pir area. The Pakistani Army had claimed that one of its soldiers had died after Indian troops crossed the border and attacked a post, which had been denied by India.

While the Army did not comment on the brutality of the attack, beyond saying that one of the bodies was found to be mutilated, sources said Pakistani troops had slit the throat and carried back the head of a soldier.

A senior Army officer confirmed that one body was found to be badly mutilated. Unconfirmed reports also suggested that two porters hired by the Indian Army were missing after the attack.

The Army's statement is also significant given the fact that it named regular Pakistani Army soldiers for the attack. In the past, similar attacks or cross-border raids have been attributed to militants or non-regular forces from Pakistan.

"Two soldiers, Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh, laid down their lives fighting the Pak troops," the Indian Army spokesperson said, adding that there has been a "significant escalation" in ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts "supported by the Pakistani Army".

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