SOPUR BATTLE ON; SILENCE IN PATTAN

Sopur/Pattan, Nov 9: The gunfight between troops and militants in north Kashmir’s Sopur town continued for second day today while the 68-hour gun-battle in Pattan ended Friday morning, claiming th...

Sopur/Pattan, Nov 9: The gunfight between troops and militants in north Kashmir's Sopur town continued for second day today while the 68-hour gun-battle in Pattan ended Friday morning, claiming the lives of four soldiers, including a Major, and three militants. However Army said that five militants were killed in the encounter.

Gun-battle on in Sopur 
 Troops and policemen today stormed the New Light Hotel in Sopur where militants are holed up since Thursday afternoon. "The policemen were able to occupy the top floor of the building. A policeman sustained injuries in the process," an official spokesman said.
 Militants fired upon CRPF patrolling party of 179 battalion  at main market Sopur Thursday and took refuge in nearby New Light Hotel. "Militants have engaged the CRPF and policemen and heavy exchange of fire is taking place between the two sides," the official added. 
 "Police got the nearby buildings vacated and cordoned off the target hotel. Efforts are on to flush out the holed up militants," the official added.
 According to the locals blasts and firing have created panic in the entire Sopur town paralyzing normal life. The gunfight was on when this report was filed.

2 militants escape, says LeT
 The spokesman of Lashkar-e-Toiba Dr Abdullah Gaznavi on Friday said that two LeT cadres have escaped from the hotel at Sopur while two others have engaged the troops.
 "Fifteen soldiers have been killed in the gunfight so far," Dr Gaznavi claimed.

Pattan encounter ends
 Army Friday claimed that it killed 'all the five militants' in the 68-hour long gun battle at Sadmohahla Pattan.
 Talking to media persons in an Army camp at Pattan after the encounter, Brigadier K A Mathana said the encounter ensued after a joint search party of Special Operation Group (SOG) of police and Army was attacked by militants hiding in some houses on November 7 (Tuesday).
 He said reinforcement was rushed and the area was sealed from all sides to foil any attempt by the militants to escape.
 He said during the night three militants were killed. It was difficult to identify two of them who were burnt.
 Brigadier Mathana said one more militant was killed by the troops  Thursday morning while the fifth one was killed on Friday.
 Responding to a reporter's query that the Major was killed in 'friendly fire' after soldiers took him as a militant, he said the Major was killed in the encounter. "On Friday morning when one of the militants tried to break the cordon, Major Virender Singh got hit during the firing. He later succumbed to his injuries in the base hospital Srinagar," he said.
 Three other soldiers also died in the encounter. The dead were identified as Hukum Singh, Manoj Kumar and Khiluram.
 At least ten houses were destroyed completely while more than 12 houses suffered partial damage in the gunfight. 
 A police spokesman said that troops lost four personnel which included a Major while six other force personnel and a civilian were injured in the encounter.

Hizb militant killed in Kishtawar
 Police on Friday said it killed a militant in Jammu's Kishtawar district. 
 A police spokesman said policemen and soldiers cordoned off Chatroo area this morning and launched searches. "Militants present there opened fire on the search party which was retaliated triggering a gunfight."
 The spokesman claimed that in the ensuing gunfight the Hizb militant identified as Muhammad Shafi alias Mudassar son of Muhammad Munawar Wani of Muharmul Chatroo was killed.    

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