7 Militants Killed In Twin Gunfights In South Kashmir

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AGUH Chief Among Slain Militants In Shopian, Tral: Police

Srinagar: Four more militants, including Ansar Ghazwatul Hind's chief Imtiaz Ahmad Shah, were killed by government forces in twin encounters in south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama districts, taking the total number of militants dead in the gunfights during the last 24 hours to seven, police said on Friday.

"Five militants have been killed in a Shopian operation, while two others were killed in the encounter at Nowbugh in Tral area of Pulwama district," a police official said.

Earlier, the Kashmir Zone Police had said that efforts were being made to get two militants hiding inside a mosque in Shopian after an overnight encounter to surrender.

"Brother of holed up militants and local imamsahab sent inside mosque to persuade the militants to come out and surrender. Efforts are on to save the mosque," police had said in a tweet.

They had also tweeted about the Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGuH) chief being trapped inside the mosque. "Chief of proscribed militant outfit AGuH (JeM) trapped," police had said.

The encounter in Shopian town broke out on Thursday evening and giving an update about the operation on the same day, police had said that three militants have been killed and four security forces personnel injured.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar told reporters that AGuH chief Imtiaz Shah, who was active since 2019, was actually killed in the gunbattle at Tral in Pulwama district.

"While laying a cordon in Shopian, two militants managed to escape after hurling a grenade," Kumar said.

He said acting on inputs that the militants had moved towards orchards in the Tral area, another operation was launched in Nowbug and the two ultras were killed. One of the slain militants was identified as Imtiaz Shah, Kumar said.

The officer said three people, who hurled stones on security forces when they were laying the cordon, suffered pellet injuries.

The army's 15 Corps' Commander, Lt Gen D P Pandey, said the security forces had conducted the Shopian operation with utmost restraint and respect for the place of worship where the two militants were hiding.

"It was ensured that there was no disrespect to the place of worship (the mosque)," he said.

Lt Gen Pandey said security forces gave ample opportunity to the militants to surrender.

"We want the misguided youth to comeback," he said, but warned that anyone who takes to arms against the state will be neutralised.

On the orders asking the media not to cover live encounters and law and order situations, IGP Kumar said he had written to all senior superintendents of police, keeping in mind the safety of journalists and to ensure media coverage does not hamper operations. "I have directed the district SSPs concerned to brief the media after the operations are over," he added.

Soldier Shot Dead In Bijbehara

Meanwhile suspected militants on Friday shot dead a Territorial Army soldier in Jablipora area of Bijbehara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Police officials said that militants shot at TA man following which he was immediately shifted to SDH Bijbehara in a critical condition where from he was referred to GMC Anantnag for treatment.

The injured TA man, however, was declared brought dead at the hospital.

The soldier has been identified as Mohammed Saleem Akhoon, son of Ghulam Hassan Akhoon of Jablipora Bijbehara

Meanwhile, the area has been cordoned off and a massive search operation has been launched to nab the attackers. (With PTI Inputs)

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