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The Army said militant outfit Al-Badr was behind the exfiltration plot.

Hours after posing with guns on the Instagram and the Facebook, four fresh recruits planning to exfiltrate into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) for arms training were held from frontier district of Kupwara on Sunday.

“The four newly-recruited militants were arrested amid a brief gunfight in upper reaches of Kalaroos in frontier Kupwara district on Sunday morning. They were attempting to exfiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC),” said Armys spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia.

The pictures of four youth — Umar Bashir Sheikh (23) from Chotipora in Handwara, Danish Khazer Sheikh (22), Waseem Ahmad Khan (23) of Chotipora, Handwara and Tahir Habib Bhat of Khuru — went viral on Saturday. The youth posed with weapons in the pictures uploaded on the social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Of late, it has become a trend that youth pose with guns to announce their joining the militant ranks in Kashmir.

The Army said they were arrested after a brief gunfight in a forest range of Kalaroos. “Extreme restraint was exercised and opportunity given to the militants to surrender. Four recruited militants surrendered. However, three militants fled from the spot under the cover of fire,” said the Army.

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The Army said militant outfit Al-Badr was behind the exfiltration plot. “A search operation is under’way to trace the fleeing militants,” the Army said.

Sources said the police launched a major hunt immediately after the youth’s pictures went viral online. The dense forest of Nag Dagi of Kalaroos was put under siege on Saturday night “after the inputs about the presence of four Handwara youths”. The operation continued till Sunday morning till the four were held.

Initial reports suggest one of the four recruits was an MBA student and another had completed Diploma in Operation Theatre (OT).

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