Soldier: Soldier, terrorist killed in J&K action; Army dog dies shielding handler

JAMMU: A soldier and an Army dog were killed in action and three other security personnel wounded in J&K’s Rajouri on Tuesday while on the trail of terrorists fleeing their hideout after a member of the armed outfit had been shot dead in the first burst of gunfire.
Defense PRO Lt Col Suneel Bartwal said the gunfight took place in a forested area of remote Narla village after a raid on the terrorist hideout by a joint team of the Army and Special Operations Group of J&K Police.
While the identity of the soldier killed during the operation wasn’t immediately known, the Army released a statement confirming that Kent, a six-year-old Labrador Retriever from the 21 Dog Unit, was fatally shot “while shielding her handler”.
“Kent was at the forefront of Op Sujaligala, leading a column of soldiers on the trail. She laid down her life in the best traditions of Indian Army,” Lt Col Bartwal said.
Of the three personnel wounded in retaliatory firing by the retreating terrorists, one is a special police officer. Additional DGP (Jammu zone) Mukesh Singh said the cordon-and-search hadn’t been called off until late Tuesday.
“Acting on specific inputs, the joint team had cordoned off the surroundings of Narla village when the terrorists hiding there fired at the advancing personnel. One of the terrorists was killed in the opening minutes of the shootout. We believe two to three terrorists are still holed up somewhere in the vicinity,” police said.
Canine hero Kent is the third Army dog to die fighting terrorists in J&K since August last year, when a Belgian Malinois named Axle was killed in action.
Zoom, another Malinois from the 28 Dog Unit, was fatally wounded while helping flush out two heavily-armed Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists hiding in a house at Tangpawas in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district in October.
Prior to this, Manasi, a female Labrador engaged in a military operation against terrorists in northern Kashmir in 2016, was fatally shot.
All three canine warriors posthumously received “Mention-in-Despatches” for gallantry.

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