Shopian encounter: Six militants, army man, civilian killed

Dozens injured in clashes

Shopian encounter: Six militants, army man, civilian killed

Srinagar: Six militants of Lashker-e-Toiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfits and a soldier were killed in a fierce encounter between security forces and militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday.
A civilian was killed, and several others injured during subsequent clashes between forces and civilians near the encounter site.
Reports said the encounter started during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday when Army’s 34-Rashtriya Rifles, paramilitary CRPF and special operation group (SOG) of J&K Police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in Batagund village of Kapran in Shopian.
“As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired at the forces, triggering a gunfight. In the initial firing four militants were killed,” a police officer said, adding that two more militants who escaped from the house where they were trapped, were killed later.
He said an army soldier of 162 Battalion Territorial Army, identified as Nazir Ahmad, was killed in the encounter. The slain, he said, was a resident of neighbouring Kulgam district.
Police identified the slain militants as Mushtaq Ahmad Mir alias Hammad alias Musha, Mohammad Abass Sheikh, Umar Majeed Ganaie alias Maaz alias Abu Hanzalla, Mohammad Waseem Wagay alias Saifullah, Khalid Farooq Malik alias Rafi alias Talha.
“From the material evidence collected, one militant is learnt to be a foreigner from Pakistan. It was a combined group of Hizbul and LeT,” a police spokesman said.
The picture of Abu Hanzalla seated at a pavilion situated in the city center, (Lal Chowk)’s Clock Tower had gone viral on social media last week. Hanzall, according to police was district commander of Hizbul for Kulgam and was involved in several killings of policemen and civilians. “He was also involved in Pombai bank attack, in which four policemen and two bank guards lost their lives,” the spokesman said.
Abass, he said, was involved in the killing of young Kashmiri army officer, Lt. Omar Fayaz, who was killed by the militants after abducting him from a marriage function in Shopian last year, advocate Imtiaz Ahmad Khan and four personal security officers of Shopian deputy superintendent police.
Reports said as soon as the news of gunfight spread in the area, youth took to streets in Batagund and pelted stones at the security forces, who retaliated by firing pellets and live ammunition, leaving dozens persons wounded among one namely Noman Ashraf Bhat, who was hit by a bullet, was shifted to district hospital Kulgam where he was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, reports reached a youth was injured during clashes with government forces in Kapran area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district near encounter site on Sunday.
He was shifted to district hospital Shopian where from he was referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment.
Hospital sources said that the youth, identified as Faizan Gulzar resident of Shamsipora, had suffered bullet injury in his head. However doctors said he is being closely monitored. (KNS)

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