Srinagar November 17, 2023: As per media reports, security forces killed five local militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in a 20-hour-long encounter in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, police said on Friday.
According to the news published in The Tribune, the gunfight erupted on Thursday morning after a joint team of police and Army’s elite 9 Para unit and 34 Rashtriya Rifles launched a counter-insurgency operation on the basis of a specific information about the presence of militants in a residential house at Samno village in Damsel-Hanjipora area of Kulgam.
As the joint team of security forces approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately upon them, which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter, a police spokesperson said.
Later on, 18th battalion of the CRPF also joined the operation which was put on hold until Friday morning owing to the darkness.
The cordon remained intact throughout the night and with the help of additional reinforcement, the cordoned area was further strengthened.
“With the first light today, the operation was resumed, which resulted in the elimination of five terrorists of the prescribed terror outfit LeT,” said Rayees Mohammad Bhat, Deputy Inspector General of Police, South Kashmir.
Bhat said the slain militants were implicated in various attacks on minorities, including an assault on a Kashmiri Pandit in April of the previous year.
Bhat said the bodies of slain militants were retrieved from the site of encounter and have been identified as Yasir Bilal Bhat, alias Humais, of Wanpoh in Anantnag district and Danish Hameed Thoker, Ubaid Ahmad Padder, Sameer Farooq Sheikh and Hanzal Yaqoob Shah, all residents of Shopian.
The slain militants, Sameer Farooq and Danish Hameed, were involved in an attack on a Kashmiri Pandith, Sonu Bhat, of Chotigam, Shopian, while Danish Hameed, along with Hanzal Yaqoob Shah, was also involved in a terror attack on outside labourers at Gagren, Shopian, on July 13, resulting in injuries to three labourers.
Sameer Farooq Sheikh was also involved in instigating and luring local youth to join militant ranks. Besides, he was involved in attack on minority picket at Heepora Batagund, Shopian, police said.
“This is a big success because these terrorists have been involved in a number of attacks on minorities. They were involved in an attack which happened in April last year in Shopian, in which one Kashmiri Pandit, Sonu Bhat, was attacked at Chotigam. Besides this, they were behind the attack on a minority picket in Shopian. Early this year, they were behind the attack on non-local labourers in Gagran Shopian,” said Bhat during a press briefing in’south Kashmir.
“The neutralisation of terrorists has obviously dealt a serious blow to the terror infrastructure that is operating here,” he said.
The recovery In the operation included 4 AK series Rifles, two pistols, four grenades and other arms and ammunition, Bhat said.
Local residents reported that at least two houses and a cowshed caught fire during the exchange of gunfire.
This incident marked the second gun battle since Wednesday in Kashmir when two militants, including top launching commander Bashir Ahmed Malik, were killed in a confrontation in the Uri sector of Baramulla district.