5 unidentified militants killed in Kupwara gunfight

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Srinagar:  Five Jaish-e-Mohammad militants were killed and three soldiers injured in a ‘gunfight’ at Drugmulla area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday.
A senior police official told news agency GNS that the gunfight broke out at Chack Drugmulla near Hatmulla area on Saturday morning after the joint team of army’s 47 RR, 41 RR and SOG cordoned off hamlet.
The forces intensified the cordon-and-search operation. The joint team zeroed-in on a house belonging to Syed Shah son in Law of Dilawer Bhat. The militants hiding inside the house, the officer said, opened fire, triggering off an encounter. Amid the gunfight, the additional reinforcement of army’s 9 PARA joined the operation, he said.
Five militants were killed in the gunfight that lasted for about nine hours, he said.
“All the bodies of the militants have been recovered along with as many AK-rifles and other war like stores”, he said.
He said that three soldiers of Rashtriya Rifles also sustained injuries in the incident and were immediately shifted to military hospital Drugmulla where from they have been referred to army hospital Srinagar for specialized treatment.
Among three injured soldiers, two have been identified as Pandu Rang Mahadev of 41 RR and Atul Kumar of 47 RR. 
According to a top police officer, there could be two possibilities about the infiltration of the militants one being a group comprising six members of JeM might have sneaked in to this part of Kashmir via Attmuqam route in between 8 May to 12 May.
He said one member of the group was killed at Zunreshi on May 17 after the group was intercepted by the sentry who was manning the boundary of the 19 MLI.
Later the remaining members of the group managed to escape and reached at Chak Drugmulla probably some two days ago.
Another possibility is that the group might be the part of Jaish-e- Mohammad which infiltrated in this part of Kashmir last year and was tasked to make module of JeM outfit. One member among the group was arrested in Baramulla last week, he said.
“We will produce pictures of slain before the arrested militant to ascertain whether the slain were the members of his group,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, locals said that the house was completely damaged due to firing and heavy motor shelling. Fire tenders were called in to douse off the flames, they said.  The bodies were later handed over to local Auqaf for last rites.
The Auqaf Committee has reportedly kept the bodies in a room at local Madarasa and has decided to bury the slain tomorrow. The committee also wants to conduct the post-mortem of all the slain.
Late in the evening, three explosions were heard near encounter site and police have urged locals not to go near encounter site till the entire area is sanitized.

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