Army officer, soldier killed in Shopian attack
An army officer and a soldier were killed in a militant attack in Shopian district on Thursday morning, police said.
A police official said acting on a tip-off about presence of militants in Zaipora Matribug village, government forces cordoned off the area at around 3 am. As the cordon was being laid, he said, the militants hiding in an orchard fired upon the soldiers of army's 62 Rashtriya Rifles, injuring a Major and two soldiers.
The fire was retaliated to, triggering a brief gunfight. "However, militants managed to escape from the spot," the official said.
He said the injured soldiers were airlifted to army's base hospital in Srinagar where Major Kamlesh Pandey and Sepoy Tanzin Chultin succumbed to their injuries. Another soldier Kripal Singh wounded in the attack is undergoing treatment.
The cordon-and-search operation, according to locals, continued till morning.
"The CASO was called off as the militants had managed to escape," they said.
HIZB CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen claimed the attack. The outfit's spokesperson Burhanuddin told a local news agency CNS that the attack was carried out near Zaipora village.
"The valiant militants of our outfit laid an ambush and attacked an army party from all sides. Five soldiers were killed and many others injured. The militants managed to reach their destinations safely after carrying out the daring attack," Burhanuddin said.
He said Hizb commander Mehmood Ghaznavi has decided to reward the militants.
"Such attacks will continue across Kashmir," he said.
CM LAYS FLORAL WREATHS ON BODIES
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti laid floral wreaths on bodies of Major Kamlesh Panday and soldier named Tenzin who were killed in Zaipora gunfight.
The Chief Minister paid rich tributes to the officer and the soldier for their bravery and valour, an official spokesman said. "She conveyed her sympathies with the bereaved families."
Mehbooba also wished a speedy recovery for the soldier injured in the gunfight on Thursday morning.
Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh and several other ministers also laid wreaths on the bodies. Chief secretary BB Vyas; GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen Sandhu; director general of police SP Vaid; divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan, officers of civil, police and army were present at the wreath-laying ceremony.
In a statement, Nirmal said sacrifices made by armed forces "would be remembered forever and a befitting reply would be given to the enemies of peace."
While sympathising with the families of slain army Major Kamlesh Pandey and Sepoy Tanzin Chhultim, he said their sacrifices would be "recorded as exemplary in the annals of history and the youth should derive inspiration from their supreme sacrifice."