2 Hizb militants killed in Bijbehara: Police

Two houses were damaged in the gunfight at Semthan Bijbehara in south Kashmir's Anantnag which ended with the killing of two local militants, Towseef Ahmad Bhat and Aamir Hussain Ganie. Mir Wasim/GK

Two Hizb ul Mujahideen militants were killed in an encounter with government forces in the Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Sunday, police said.

Police said the slain militants were “responsible” for killing an army soldier two days ago.

The slain were identified as Tauseef Ahmad Bhat of Takai Maqbool Shah village, Bijbehara, and Aamir Hussain Ganai of Goriwan locality, Bijbehara town. Bhat was active in Hizb ranks since 2017 and Ganai since 2018.

“The slain militants were involved in the killing of a territorial army soldier and we killed them within twenty-four hours (after the soldier’s killing),” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said.

An off duty TA man Muhamad Saleem Akhoon, 38, a former government gunmen was killed outside his house in Jablipora, Bijbehara on Friday afternoon.

“The duo were also involved in the killing of a CRPF man,” the IGP said.

The gunfight was triggered in Semthan village of Bijbehara Saturday evening shortly after the army’s 3 RR, special operation group (SOG) of J&K police cordoned off the area following inputs about the presence of militants.

“As the joint team zeroed in towards the house, the militants had taken shelter in, they were fired upon. The fire was retaliated triggering an encounter,” he said.

The police official said the exchange of fire continued for some time after which guns fell silent for long. “The militants were given chance to surrender but they refused. The operation was suspended for the night and resumed in the wee hours. It ended with the killing of two militants,” he said.

The house, the militants were hiding in, was also damaged in the gunfight. “2AK 47 rifles were recovered from the possession of slain militants,” a police official said.

The bodies of the duo were later taken to north Kashmir’s Handwara area for burial with only family members allowed to participate in their last rites.

The internet services in the district remained shut as a precautionary measure.