Fierce encounter rages on in Kashmir

Three JeM militants are believed to be holed up in a house in Malura village near Srinagar city.

Srinagar: A fierce gunbattle broke out on Thursday between security forces and three militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) holed up in a house in Malroo locality on the
outskirts of Srinagar city.

Several explosions were heard as security forces launched an assault to flush out the militants hiding in the house of property dealer Abdul Majid Bhat at Malroo, 15 kms
from here, officials said.

The two sides exchanged heavy volume of firing soon after security forces evacuated civilians including large number of women and children to safety from the houses in the
vicinity of the building where the militants were taking shelter, they said.

The encounter started after police and troops of 2 Rashtriya Rifles cordoned off Malroo locality in the wee hours following a tip off about the presence of at least three militants in one of the houses in the area.

The ultras opened fire on the security forces when they were zeroing in on the house. The troops retaliated following which a gunbattle ensued, they said.

At one stage, security forces sent a group of locals to persuade the militants to surrender, they said. However, the ultras refused the offer.

A helicopter was seen flying very low over the house after which one of the militants started firing towards it, they said.

A defence spokesman said the movement of the choppers in the area is for routine administrative purposes as the headquarters of counter-insurgency `Kilo Force` is located
in nearby Shariefabad area.

"We do not use helicopters during encounter operations," Lt Colonel JS Brar said.

Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters that the operation was launched last night after which the encounter began.

"The operation is in progress and details will be given once it is completed," Khoda said.

He said the security forces were alert to the challenge of militancy and necessary steps were being taken to thwart them.


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