3 Militants, 2 Soldiers Killed in Shopian

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Srinagar—The night-long fierce encounter in Awnera village in Shopian ended Sunday with the killing of two army men and three local Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including groups Operational Commander, Yasin Yatoo alias Mahmood Ghaznawai.

SSP Shopian, A Dinkar confirmed that Yasin Yatoo alias Mahmood Ghaznavi, was among the three militants killed in the encounter.

He said that Adil Malik who was identified among the three dead earlier, was alive.

The two other slain militants were identified as Umar Majid Sheikh, resident of Kathpora Yaripora and Sheikh Irfan, resident of Maldaira Shopian.

The gunfight started on Saturday evening in the village when hundreds of personnel from Army’s 3 RR, 55 RR, police and SOG had started cordon and search operation after inputs about presence of a group of militants, including some top commanders of Hizb, police officials said.

The officials said the militants fired on security forces when the cordon and searches were being conducted in which five army soldiers were injured.

“The injured were rushed to 92 Base Hospital at BB Cant where two soldiers succumbed to their injuries.

The slain army men were identified as Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman and Sepoy Ilayaraja P.

“The three injured including a Captain, are recuperating at the hospital,” officials said.

They said that during the gunfight, four houses were also razed in mortar shelling by the armed forces.

Authorities suspended internet services in Shopian and Kulgam to prevent spreading of information about the encounter and mobilization of people towards the encounter site.

As the encounter ended, clashes erupted in Zainapora and other areas in Shopian when security forces were winding up the operation and returning from the encounter site. Forces opened fire and used other means like tear smoking and pellet firing against the protesters. One protester was killed and dozens others were injured.

Meanwhile, two policemen were injured today morning in Hajin, Bandipora when militants fired on them during a cordon and search operation in the area.

Police officials said the militants managed to escape as local residents threw stones towards security forces to disrupt the operation and help militants flee.

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