PulwamaAt least eight security personnel, including four CRPF men, were killed when militants carried out a fidayeen attack on a district police complex in Pulwama on Saturday, triggering a massive gunfight in which the two militants were also killed.
Nine security personnel had sustained injuries when reports last came in late on Saturday.
The daring strike, first such in years, took place at the crack of dawn when the militants entered the high security police complex in the worst-hit South Kashmir district of Pulwama.
Residents told Kashmir Observer that they first heard firing shots at around 4 am. The camp is situated in a high security area and close to Deputy Commissioner and district police chiefs office on Pulwama-Shopian Road.
An army camp is also located close to the encounter site.
Officials said, army was brought in to tackle militants who first evacuated the family members of the police personnel living within the complex.
By afternoon, the troops neutralised one of the three militants while another militants body was recovered after 5 PM, officials said.
The militants had entrenched themselves in all the three blocks of the police complex and were firing at the approaching troops, they said.
Lt Gen J S Sandhu, General officer Commanding of Srinagar-based XV Corps, said it is a “fidayeen” (suicide) attack.
Among those killed four were from the CRPF, one was a constable of Jammu and Kashmir Police and three were Special Police Officers working with the state police.
Two of the four CRPF personnel were killed at the fag end of the operation when they were defusing one of the improvised explosive devices planted by the militants.
A police official said that one of the militants came out of a building and fired indiscriminately during the encounter.
“He was gunned down on the spot,” the official said.
Eyewitnesses said that choppers were seen hovering over the encounter site.
Two building caught fire while intermittent firing and explosions rocked the area.
A police official said that militants also fired an UBGL RD which got blown up in the DPL ground.
A police spokesman said, theres no hostage situation. All families evacuated, operation on, he tweeted.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said, two Special Police Officers (SPOs) were trapped in a building which was stormed by militants in a pre-dawn attack in Pulwama district while the attackers were cornered by government forces, the Home Ministry said Saturday.
In a statement, issued after Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in the state, the ministry said the militants had been cornered in a set of government quarters and action to flush them out was in process.
The meeting, attended by NSA Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and others, reviewed the ongoing encounter in Pulwama.
The authorities suspended mobile internet services in the district as a precautionary measure.
Director General of Police S P Vaid said it was a sad day for security forces who suffered such a heavy causality.
“However, the boys fought bravely and we are only more determined to wipe out militancy from the entire state,” he said.
He refuted the possibility of a security lapse that could be responsible for the attack, explaining that “You can’t prevent if somebody is ready to die.”
Youth Pelt Stones at Cops
During the gun fight scores of youth came out on the roads and clashed with government forces who retaliated with tear-smoke shelling and aerial firing. Youth pelted stones on the government forces deployed near the encounter site.
Jaish claims responsibility
Militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad has claimed the responsibility of Pulwama attack.
Hasan Shah, the spokesperson of the outfit told news agency CNS over phone that the valiant militants stormed into CRPF camp stationed at District Police Lines (DPL) Pulwama and inflicted casualties upon the armed forces.
The armed forces have suffered massive damage while militants present there are giving a tough time to the Indian troops, he said.
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