5 militants killed in Sopore encounter

They Were Planning Attacks In Srinagar: Police


Srinagar, Dec 18: Five Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militants were killed in an encounter with police and Army in Sopore Tehsil of Baramulla district in north Kashmir on Tuesday. The encounter was continuing when this report was filed as two more militants are said to be trapped. Director General of Police Ashok Prasad and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SM Sahai, termed it a big success and said the militant group was eyeing to carry out attacks in Srinagar city.
The encounter began early Tuesday morning at village Saidpora on Sopore- Bandipora highway after soldiers of Army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Special Operation Group (SOG) of J&K Police cordoned off the village on a tip-off about presence of five to seven militants.
The exchange of fire between the militants and joint party of Army and SOG started at 3 A.M. and was continuing by late Tuesday evening.
An Army officer who was supervising the operation said that while the village was being cordoned off, the hiding militants opened fire on Army and SOG. He said that in the initial gun-battle one militant was killed. The Army officer said the hiding militants tried to flee, but were not successful.
He said the militants took shelter in the houses of Ghulam Muhammad Dar and Muhammad Nawab Dar and both the houses were damaged during the exchange of fire.
The officer said so far five militants including a local militant, identified as Muhammad Azhar Dar of Model Town Sopore, have been killed.
Twenty-four year old Azhar had joined militancy in 2011. He passed class 12th examination in 2010 but did not join college.
Sources in police said the militant group was chased in Diver Warnow area of Lolab in last week of November. Sources said that after the chase the militant group crossed via Kandi, Tujar and reached Sopore Monday morning. Two among them, sources said, were injured and were being treated in Shiva area of Sopore.
“Yesterday they had hair cut in the adjoining Shiva area of Sopore,” sources in police said adding that the militants were being tracked since then. “At around 10 pm, they arrived in Saidpora and at 3 A.M. the area was cordoned off,” sources said. They added that two more militants who had gone to receive them also got trapped in the cordon.
DGP Ashok Prasad termed it a big success. “This is a group of seven people. They were eyeing attacks in Srinagar,” he said, and added that the militant group was being tracked.
DGP Prasad said that this was second such group that was eyeing attacks in Srinagar. “Earlier we killed a group of militants in Ganderbal. They were also trying to operate in Srinagar,” he said adding that operations against the militants would continue at fast pace.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, SM Sahai, who visited the operation site, termed the killing of five militants as a major success against militants in North Kashmir.
Sahai said that it is a recent group that moved from North Kashmir, as LeT was depleted in Sopore.
Superintendent of Police, Sopore, Imtiyaz Hussain told Greater Kashmir late Tuesday evening, “We have recovered four bodies. Because of the continuing gun-battle we are not able to recover fifth one but we have seen his body. The operation is going on and I believe that two more militants are trapped inside,” he said.
“The identity of the slain militants is being ascertained. But initial investigation has shown that the militants belong to LeT militant outfit,” Imtiyaz said.
With Ghulam Muhammad in Sopore

Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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