Srinagar: Five Islamic militants reportedly associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Muhammad were killed in a fierce fire fight with security forces in woods in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Shopian district on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded across Jammu and Kashmir after a senior Army commander said that there are inputs that terrorists may try to attack soft targets including schools in the country ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit this month.
A statement issued by the police here said, “During the searches, militants present in the forest fired upon the joint search team, triggering an encounter in which five militants were killed. The identity of the militants is being ascertained.” It added that 3 AK rifles, one SLR rifle and one pistol were recovered from the encounter site.
Army added that the intelligence inputs about presence of militants in the area were received on late Wednesday evening. “The operation was launched around 9.30 pm on the same night and an effective cordon was established by 3.30 am on January 15. As the noose was tightened in the morning hours, the terrorists hiding in the forested area opened heavy volume of fire. In the ensuing fire fight and precise engagement by the Army personnel, terrorists were eliminated,” an Army handout issued here said.
Police sources said that four of the slain militants were locals and have been identified as Showkat Ahmed Dagga, Parvez Ahmed Shah, Tahir Ahmed Dar and Master Shakeel Ahmed Wani. Their fifth accomplice was Tayyab, a Pakistan national from its Multan province. On Wednesday, the security forces had killed a Lashkar-e-tayyaba militant in an encounter in north-western town of Sopore.
Meanwhile, security across Jammu and Kashmir has been beefed up further in the wake of inputs about possible attacks by Pakistan-based terror outfits on “soft targets” ahead of Mr. Obama’s India visit. Particularly a high alert has been sounded in border areas of Jammu region including Kathua, Samba and Jammu districts with Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) of the police and Police Control Room vans kept on high alert and new check posts set up at a distance of every eight to ten kilometers to ensure that the Republic Day celebrations go incident free.