Kupwara Gunfight Toll Mounts To 10 

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Srinagar—Three army men and two SOG personnel were killed on Wednesday in an ongoing encounter with militants at Chack Fatehkhan, Halmatpora area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. So far five militants have been killed in the gunfight while one soldier is missing.

The killed soldiers have been identified as Zorawar of 3 JAK Rifles who was attached with 160 battalion of the Territorial Army,  Mohammad Ashraf Rather of the same TA battalion, and Naik Ranjeet Khalho of the 5 Bihar regiment while Mohammad Yousuf Cheche (SPO) of Kachama, Kupwara and Deepak Pandit of Nagrota, Jammu, were the casualties among the SOG.

Four forces’ personnel injured in the fighting have been identified as Sub Inspector (SI) Harvinder Singh, Javaid Ahmad of SOG, one army soldier and a trooper from the CRPF.   

Though gunfire broke out intermittently during the night as well, the fighting intensified since morning and continued throughout the day.

The army has recovered the bodies of four militants from the encounter site. Three were found early on Wednesday morning, and the fourth one later in the day. One body is yet to be recovered, they added. 

 “In the ongoing encounter, so far 05 (militants) have been neutralised; all of whom are understood to be (foreigners) and part of a freshly infiltrated group,” a police spokesman said.

In the process huge cache of arms and ammunition and other incriminating materials which include AK 47 rifles, grenades, etc were recovered from the encounter site, the spokesman said.

 “It is pertinent to mention here that the encounter is in progress in the dense forests area. Owing to the thick vegetation and low visibility the forces are mopping the area with due caution,” he said.

Sources said that one soldier of 160 TA was missing and it could not be immediately known whether had been killed or was untraceable for some other reason.  “The soldier is missing and his fate is not known,” a police source said.

The army has also pressed drones to track the militants. The army also rushed reinforcement of 5 Bihar and 4 para commandos and has also cordoned off areas in the peripheries of the Halmatpora.  Sources said that firing has stopped at around 6:30pm and when this report was filed, there was lull as per a senior army officer. 

The encounter started when a group of militants believed to be seven in number fired upon a joint team of the army and SOG at Chack Fatehkhan forests on Tuesday afternoon.

Mehbooba Pays Tributes to Govt Force Personnel 

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday paid rich tributes to the government forces’ personnel killed in a fierce gunbattle in Kupwara district.

Four heavily-armed militants and five government force personnel were killed in the encounter that broke out at Halmatpora in north Kashmir’s Kupwara yesterday and was still on.

In a statement issued by the information department, the chief minister paid rich tributes to the forces men who laid down their lives in the operation.

She expressed solidarity with the bereaved families of the deceased and prayed for peace to the departed souls, the release said. The operation was on till last reports were received.

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