Kupwara encounter enters 15th day as fresh firing breaks out

KUPWARA: Fresh exchange of fire took place between army and besieged militants in Manigah forests in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, as the operation that has left one army officer dead entered its 15th day on Friday.

Official sources said that army’s 41 RR, and commandos from 4 PARA, 9 PARA who had launched massive search operation in number of forest areas in Manigah following killing of army colonel on Nov 17, intercepted the militant group Friday afternoon at Peer Mohalla area of Haji Naka in Manigah, triggering off an encounter.

The two sides have been exchanging intermittent fire in the forest areas for last fifteen days”, SP Kupwara Aijaz Ahmad Bhat told a group of reporters.

He said that since then the joint team of forces had established contacts with the militants intermittently resulting into the killing of one militant so far. “A colonel also lost his life while fighting the militants”.

“The joint team of forces while intensifying the combing operation in the area Friday morning came under sudden fire from militants hiding inside a local mud house (Kothar)”, SP said.

He said that the tight cordon is in place to prevent the militants from escaping.

Meanwhile, sources said that the some mud houses were blasted and were razed to rubble to deprive militants of any shelter.

“Two militant who are said to be hiding inside the house at Peer Mohalla were part of the group who had reportedly infiltrated from the other side of Kashmir on Oct 30/31. The group has already lost two of its members. One died due to severe cold while another was killed in an encounter”, official sources said.

Before being intercepted, the group was trapped in the mountainous terrain due to heavy rains and snowfall, they said.

Pertinently, the said militant group had managed to dodge forces a number of times since Nov 13 in different locations in Manigah sector, some times narrowly escaping the army ambushes, these sources said.

Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed in the operation on November 17 while another officer was among several soldiers injured during the fortnight long operation. 

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