The killing of five Army men in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district will not go unavenged, said Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane on Tuesday, adding that India will defeat the evil forces behind the attack.

While expressing condolence, the defence secretary sent out a strong message. "I express profound grief on the loss of five Bravehearts in a militant attack in Badnota, Kathua, and extend deepest condolences to the bereaved families. Their selfless service to the nation will always be remembered & their sacrifice will not go unavenged and India will defeat the evil forces behind the attack," the defence secretary said in a post on X.

'Kashmir Tigers', a shadow outfit of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tejas LCA

Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he was 'deeply anguished' by the soldiers' deaths on Monday.

"I am deeply anguished at the loss of five of our brave Indian Army Soldiers in a militant attack in Badnota, Kathua (J&K). My deepest condolences to the bereaved families, the Nation stands firm with them in this difficult time. The Counter militant operations are underway, and our soldiers are determined to usher in peace and order in the region. I pray for a speedy recovery to those who sustained injuries in this dastardly terror attack," the Minister said in his post on X.

Five Army men were killed on Monday when a group of heavily armed terrorists ambushed a patrolling party in the Badnota area in Kathua. A massive search operation has already been launched to hunt those down responsible for the attack.

With inputs from IANS