Five Militants Killed in Encounter in South Kashmir's Kulgam District
Security personnel stand guard during an encounter with militants, in Kulgam, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Image Courtesy: PTI
Srinagar: At least five militants were killed in an encounter which broke out in South Kashmir’s Samno village of Kulgam district, officials said on Friday.
The gunfight, which lasted for about 24 hours according to security officials, broke out on Thursday after security forces including the Indian Army, J&K Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched an operation in the Damhal Hanjipora area based on intelligence inputs.
The encounter continued through the night and the firing resumed on Friday after a brief gap following which the security forces managed to eliminate the militants holed up in a village house.
The Indian Army’s Srinagar-based Chinar Corps said that they also recovered a cache of arms near the five slain militants including four AK Rifles, one Pistol and other ammunition. “The operation has been concluded,” the Army spokesperson confirmed.
The police said all the slain militants are locals and affiliated with the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) outfit and its offshoot – The Resistance Front (TRF).
“It is a big success as the terrorists were involved in attacks on minorities including an attack carried out in April last year in which a minority community member Sonu Bhat was targeted in Shopian. They were also involved in an attack on non-local labourers at Gagran village in Shopian,” Rayees Bhat, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Kashmir, told reporters in a press brief.
The militants have been identified as Sameer Ahmad Sheikh, a resident of Chak Chollen of Shopian district. He had joined the militant cadre in August 2021. Danish Ahmad Thokar and Ubaid Ahmad Padder, both hailing from Chakoora village of Shopian, have been active since March and September 2022 respectively. Yasir Bilal, a local of Wanpoh village of Kulgam, active since May 2022 and Hanzullah Yaqoob Shah, a resident of Rawalpora area of Shopian, who had joined the militant group TRF in July this year.
The gunfight in Kulgam is seen as one of the major counter-insurgency operations carried out in the region this year. At least 65 militants have been killed across Jammu and Kashmir including around a dozen and a half killed in the South of Pir Panjal Range, which has witnessed a surge in militancy-related incidents in recent years. Of the total militants, a majority have been killed along the Line of Control (LoC) during gunfights to thwart infiltration attempts.
As many as seven militants have been killed in Kulgam district followed by four in Pulwama, three in Baramulla and two in Shopian in separate encounters.
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