4 militants killed in Shopian encounter

4 militants killed in Shopian encounter
File Photo: Mubashir Khan/ GK

Four local militants were killed while an army man suffered  injuries during a fire fight in Batpora Manihal village of south Kashmir's Shopian district on Monday.

The slain militants were identified as Amir Shafi of Batpora Manihal, Shopian; Rayees Ahmad Bhat of DK Pora, Shopian; Aaqib Malik of Arshipora, Shopian; and Altaf Wani of Dachipora, Shopian.

All the slain had signed up for militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba over past five months.  While Amir had joined militancy in February this year, Rayees, Altaf and Aqib had taken up arms in October, November and December last year respectively.

This is the second gun battle in the district since March 13 when two militants including a Jaish commander were killed in the apple rich Rawalpora village, here, during a three-day long operation.

A police official said that following a tip-off, the personnel of army's 34 RR, CRPF and police encircled Batpora Manihal village and launched a search operation late on Saturday evening.

He said that as the forces approached a suspected spot at around 2 am, the militants hiding there, sprayed bullets on them.  "The forces returned the fire, triggering off a gun battle," the official said.

He said that an army man sustained injuries during the exchange of fire and he was removed to army's 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar.

The official said that the gun battle continued spasmodically for several hours and ended at around 9.30 am with the killing of four militants.

A senior police official said that the militants were asked to surrender, but they declined and continued firing bullets on the forces. A video purportedly showing a militant family and the security forces appealing militants in pitch darkness to lay down their arms and surrender circulated online. Local residents said that the internet service was cut off in the entire area at least an hour before the gun battle started. The service, however, was restored on Monday evening.

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