Eight Army personnel and two civilians were injured when militants triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) fitted in a vehicle near an Army patrol in the militancy-hit Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Monday, officials said.They said the multi-vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles was moving on the Arihal-Pulwama road when the IED was detonated, injuring the personnel travelling in a bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle.The site of the IED blast is 27 km from the area where a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a suicide bomber on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.Major killedIn another incident, an Army officer and a militant were killed during an encounter in Anantnag.A Srinagar-based police spokesman said Major Ketan Sharma, 32, from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, was injured when a search party of the security forces encircled hiding militants and came under “heavy fire” at Badoora village in Anantnag’s Achabal area in the morning.“Sharma was evacuated to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said the police.Two other Army officials, including Major Rahul Verma, suffered injuries in the day-long exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces in Anantnag. “One militant was killed in the ongoing operation. His body was retrieved and his identity and affiliation are being ascertained,” said the police.Referring to the IED blast, Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said it was “a failed attempt” to attack the mobile vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles. “Alertness of the patrol party helped to minimise the damage,” said the spokesman.The police spokesman confirmed that six soldiers were injured in the IED blast, which inflicted severe damage on the Army vehicle.The attack on the Army vehicle comes days after Pakistan intelligence agencies reportedly shared information on the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s plans to carry out a major attack using a vehicle to “avenge” its chief Zakir Musa in Pulwama on May 24.(With inputs from PTI)
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