SRI NAGAR: An Armyman and a wanted militant of Hizbul Mujahideen’s breakaway group Lashkar-e-Islam were killed in a nine-hour gunfight at the Rafiabad area in the North Kashmir district of Baramulla on Wednesday.
The militant has been involved in attacks on mobile infrastructure in the Valley.
According to police, a joint combing and search operation was launched by the Army, police and paramilitary forces at Ladoora village in Rafiabad early on Wednesday, following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants.
He said after plugging all the possible escape routes, security personnel zeroed in on a residential house where they had information that one or more militants were hiding.
“We asked the militants present inside to surrender and lay down weapons. However, they turned down the offer and fired bullets towards the security personnel,” the official said.
He said in the initial gunfight, an Armyman sustained critical bullet injuries and was evacuated to Army hospital in Srinagar, where doctors declared him brought dead. “The firefight continued for nine hours and ended after the holed up militant was killed,” the official said.
The locals, however, alleged that security forces blew up the house with explosives after facing stiff resistance from the militant hiding in the house.
A police spokesman identified the militant as Riyaz Ahmad alias Gosha of Sopore area in Baramulla district. “An AK-47 rifle and two AK magazines were recovered from the encounter site,” the spokesman said. He said Ahmad was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Islam, headed by wanted militant Abdul Qayoom Najar.