SRINAGAR: Two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in an encounter with security forces in Awantipora area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday while about 10 others including top commanders of two militant groups managed to escape from the encounter site.
A police officer said acting on specific information about presence of a group of militants in Awantipora area, police, army and paramilitary CRPF personnel launched a joint combing and search operation to flush out the hiding militants.
“We had got inputs that about a dozen militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba were meeting in a farm in Padampora village in Awantipora. We immediately launched operation and laid siege around the area to encircle the militants,” he said.
The official said while the cordon was being laid and exit points sealed, the militants fired from automatic weapons towards the security personnel to break the siege and escape from the area.
“The fire was returned by the security forces and in the ensuing firefight, two militants were killed,” he said.
The police official said bodies of both the militants, who are believed to be Lashkar militants, have been recovered. “Their identity is being ascertained”.
Sources said one of the slain militant is believed to be LeT commander Abu Okasha, a Pakistani national, who is involved in Udhmapur attack.
They said at least 10 militants including top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba managed to escape from the area during the course of gunfight.
“We are trying to ascertain whether LeT’s top commander Abu Dujana was among those who managed to escape from the encounter site,” they said.
The police official said the search operation in the area is going on.
Meanwhile, while the encounter was going on, a group of local residents came out on roads and staged demonstrations. They pelted stones on the cops, who retaliated and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the agitating people. The clashes continued for some time.