Srinagar: Five militants and four security personnel have been killed and five more security personnel injured in a gun battle raging in woods of Jammu and Kashmir's frontier Kupwara district since Tuesday afternoon.
Officials in Srinagar said fighting broke out in Chak Fatah Khan forest area at around 3 pm on Tuesday after the security forces chased a group of militants which had earlier opened fire at a joint party of Army’s 41 Rashtriya Rifles and J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) near Halmatpora village close to the Line of Control (LoC).
Subsequently, the reinforcements from the Army, the SOG and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) laid siege to the area to take on the militants. In the initial exchanges, four militants were killed and two security personnel were injured, the officials had said.
The police sources here said that though the intermittent firing between the two sides continued throughout the night, the fighting intensified with the first light on Wednesday. The Army's PARA commandos also joined the operation on Wednesday, the sources added.
“So far, five militants have been killed. Four security personnel also lost their lives and five others were wounded,” said a police official.
The sources said that the security forces were trying to ‘neutralise” a sixth militant but the operation may be extended even after he too is killed in the belief that more militants may be hiding in the area. A report said that there were two more militants engaged in the gunfight.
“We have seen in the past that militants target security forces to engage them in gun fights and then the engagement is seized by other infiltrating militants to escape detection and relocate to populated areas down the hills,” said the police official who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity.
The reports from Kupwara said that apparently for this reason Army helicopters and camera-fitted drones have been used in the area during the operation.
The police and Army officials have identified the slain Army personnel as Muhammad Ashraf Rather and Naik Ranjeet Singh of 160th Battalion of the Territorial Army and two SOG men as Muhammad Yusuf Cheche and Deepak Thusoo. They said that all the four were critically injured in the clash and later succumbed at Army medical facility in Kupwara.
J&K police tweeted, “#Halmatpora #Kupwara update In the ongoing encounter JK police lost two brave hearts Sgct Deepak Thusoo and SPO Mohd Yousuf who laid down their lives in the line of duty. We stand by the family at this crucial juncture.”
Two SOG men including Sub-Inspector Harvinder Singh, an Army jawan and a CRPF jawan were injured, the officials said....