Kupwara: As per media reports five security personnel — three Army jawans and two policemen from the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police — and an equal number of militants killed in one of the deadliest operations in the Valley so far this year.
The nearly 48-hour gunbattle in the dense Halmatpora Chak forests of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district ended on Wednesday night.
Six security personnel were injured. The police described their condition as “stable”.
As per media reports the encounter broke out about 8 km from the Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday morning after a police patrol intercepted a group of militants. A joint team of the Kupwara police along with companies of the Army, the Territorial Army (TA) and the Central Reserve Police Force were engaged in the operation.
The Lashkar-e-Toiba militants managed to sneak in, crossing two ridges of the Shamsabari mountain range. They reportedly met their “reception party” (overground workers and militants in the Valley) on crossing the LoC, and were proceeding towards Kupwara when spotted by a police patrol, officials said.
Hiding inside a mosque, two of them were killed on Tuesday as they ran towards the forest area. Another militant, who had positioned himself at a height and was firing on approaching security personnel, was killed later in the evening.
The security forces eliminated two more militants in the Halmatpora Chak forests on Wednesday.
With the bodies of the militants yet to be retrieved from the encounter site, their identities have not been ascertained so far, reads a note in The Tribune.
The deceased security personnel were identified as Deepak Thusoo, Ashraf Rather, SPO Mohd Yousuf, Sepoy Ashraf Rather of 160 TA and Naik Ranjeet Kholka of 5 Bihar.
Sources said additional reinforcements were rushed to eliminate the militants, but the militants, hiding in the forest area, kept changing their location while firing at the forces, prolonging the gunbattle.