SRINAGAR: Eight militants including three Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen and an IED expert were killed and 12 security men including a police and army officer injured in three separate encounters in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
A police officer said a contingent of police, CRPF and army men tracked the three Jaish fidayeen, who had escaped yesterday after exchanging brief gunfight with policemen in Jajjar Kotli area of Jammu, near a residential house in Kakriya area of Reasi district of Jammu province early today. The security men encircled the area and sealed all the escape routes before launching an assault on militants.
"The militants fired on security personnel and troops returned the fire," the official said. He said para commandos were also pressed into the service to take on the militants. "The exchange of fire between two sides forces continued till late afternoon during which all three hiding militants were killed". He said 12 security men including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Mohan Lal and army Major Deepak Upadhyay were injured in the gunfight.
The injured security men were evacuated to different hospitals and condition of all of them is stated to be critical. Among the injured security men, five belong to CRPF, four to police and three are army men. The security agencies pressed drones and helicopters into service to keep track on militant movements. The drones and army helicopters were hovering over the air since yesterday when three militants suspected to be Jaish-e-Mohammad fidayeen had fired on policemen from truck before fleeing into the forest area. The truck was seized by police and driver and conductor of the vehicle arrested. A police official said the trio had infiltrated yesterday morning from across the border in Hiranagar sector.
"Preliminary investigation reveals that slain militants belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad. They had come from Pakistan to disturb peace and cause violence in the State," he said. The official said bodies of all three militants were recovered. "Besides, large cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession". He said major fidayeen attack was averted by the killing of three Jaish militants. Another encounter broke out between Jaish militants and security forces in Checkipora area of Sopore in north Kashmir's Baramulla district in the morning.
A police official said in the ensuing gunfight, which continued for nearly two hours, two Jaish militants were killed. "No collateral damage was caused in the operation".The deceased militants were identified as Ali alias Athar and Zia-ur-Rehman, both Pakistani nationals. The official said Ali was important commander of JeM and was active since 2014.
"He was mastermind of Sopore IED blast in January this year in which four policemen were killed. Both militants were involved in attacks on security forces and civilians".Sources said besides arms and ammunition, security forces recovered two Aadhar cards from the possession of deceased militants. Police is checking the veracity of the Aadhar to ascertain whether they the cards have been tampered with.
Meanwhile, army today foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of border district of Kupwara. Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said troops manning the LoC in Keran sector noticed a group of militants trying to sneak into this side of LoC. He said the militants were challenged and fired upon. "The militants also returned the fire and in the ensuing firefight, three militants were killed". The army men were conducting combing and search operation in the area when the reports last poured in.