Seven militants and a cop were killed in three separate encounters in north Kashmir's Kupwara district while two different gunfights also broke out in Poonch district of Jammu region on Sunday, police said.
Army claimed to have foiled three infiltration bids at the LoC, with its Srinagar-based spokesman Colonel N N Joshi saying four militants were killed near the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowgam Sector of Kupwara district on Sunday morning "when they were trying to sneak in."
"It was an infiltration bid and the Army foiled it. The operation is on," he said.
Superintendent of Police Handwara Ghulam Jeelani confirmed the killing of four militants. "A police party has been sent to the area to bring the bodies of militants," he said.
Meanwhile, a policeman was killed and two others, including an officer, injured as forces engaged in twin encounters with four militants who are holed up at two places near the under-construction Mini Secretariat in Poonch town of Jammu province, officials said. The encounters erupted at around 7.30 am when the militants started firing from near the Mini Secretariat building, close to Army's 93 Brigade headquarters, a police official said.
While briefing media-persons about Nowgam encounter, GOC of army's 19 Infantry division at Baramulla, J S Nain said that slain militants were "all foreigners" and the "recovered arms and ammunition from their possession suggests that they were on some major task."
"It seems that the slain militants were trying to take advantage of the present unrest. Big haul of arms and ammunition and medicine were recovered from them which suggests that they were intending to carry out some massive attack," Nain claimed. He alleged that attempts are being made from across the LoC to push in more and more militants especially at a time when Kashmir is witnessing uprising triggered by killing of Burhan Wani. He said that militants yesterday made "desperate attempts to infiltrate through Gurez, Tanghdar and Nowgam sectors."
Three militants and a cop were killed in twin encounters in Poonch.
Police said a group of four to five militants sneaked into Poonch town at around 7.30 am and attacked Rajinder Kumar, a Havaldar working at the Special Branch of CID in Poonch when he spotted them "trying to enter an old building near Senior Superintendent of Police office."
Sources said Rajinder, a local resident, tried to raise alarm when the militants opened fire, but was killed instantly.
"After killing Rajinder, the militants fled from the spot and split into two groups," police sources said. "One group stormed into a private building near Army's brigade headquarter at Alla Peer area and held a couple hostage there, while another went inside an under-construction Mini-Secretariat building opposite to the office of Senior Superintendent of Police Poonch." Sources said the couple is identified as Haji Nazir Hussain and his wife Mumtaz Mir.
"In late evening, forces successfully evacuated the couple by killing a militant who had held them hostage," said Johnny William, DIG of Rajouri-Poonch range.
He said two militants were also gunned down at the under-construction Mini Secretariat building "which is confirmed by images captured by a drone camera."
"(But) firing is still taking place from inside the Mini Secretariat building and operation is going on at both the locations," he said.
However, apart from killing a police constable, five others including two armymen and two police personnel were injured. The injured policemen were identified as Sub-Inspector Manzoor Ahmed and Muhammad Shahnaz, a constable. The identity of two injured army men could not be immediately ascertained. The fifth person injured was Tariq Ahmed, a domestic help at the house of Haji Nazir Mir.
Lt Col Manish Mehta, Jammu-based army spokesperson, said: "A fight between forces and militants erupted early morning when a J&K Police patrol encountered militants on the fringes of border town of Poonch." He said army has "taken over the charge and cordoned the entire area."
"Encounter is on and efforts are also on to kill the holed up militants with minimum collateral damage," he said.